Saturday, January 29 2022
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The Philadelphia 76ers extended their win streak to four games with a wire-to-wire 103-98 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. The loss was just the second of the season for the Bulls, who are now tied with the Sixers in the standings at 6-2. Seth Curry led the way for Philadelphia with 22 points, five rebounds and three assists, and Joel Embiid added 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. The win was especially impressive for Philly given the fact that they were without two starters in Tobias Harris and Danny Green (and, obviously, Ben Simmons as well). 

Bulls stars DeMar DeRozan (37 points, 10 rebounds) and Zach LaVine (27 points, nine rebounds) both went off, but ultimately their production wasn’t enough. Lonzo Ball (13 points) was the only other Bulls player that scored in double digits. Moving forward, Chicago will need a more balanced offensive attack in order to reach its full potential as a team and maintain its early season momentum. 

The Sixers and Bulls won’t have to wait long for a rematch, as the two teams will face off against each other again on Saturday night in Chicago. Before looking ahead to that game though, here’s a look back at three key plays from the first meeting between the teams. 

Thybulle’s tone-setting block on LaVine

Matisse Thybulle is only in his third season in the league, but he’s already established himself as one of its best perimeter defenders. His ability to play lockdown defense on other team’s top options has become especially important for Philadelphia in the absence of Ben Simmons. On Tuesday night, he was tasked with guarding Zach LaVine — not an easy assignment, but one that Thybulle was up for. Early in the first quarter, LaVine drove on Thybulle, only to find himself feeling, well, rejected: 

That block set the tone early on, as it let LaVine know that easy buckets weren’t going to be on the menu. LaVine still finished the game with a respectable 27 points, but he connected on just 11 of his 24 shot attempts and two of his seven shots from long range. 

Curry’s clutch shot over Caruso

Despite playing from behind for the vast majority of the game, the Bulls never gave up. With just under 17 seconds remaining in the game, the Bulls had cut Philadelphia’s lead to two, and the Sixers desperately needed a basket in order secure the win. The Sixers have struggled with late-game offensive execution in the past — they blew a large lead to the Nets in the fourth quarter earlier this season. Seth Curry wasn’t about to let that happen again, though. With the game hanging in the balance, Curry came off of a down screen from Embiid, corralled a slightly errant pass from Tyrese Maxey and then proceeded to hit the game-sealing jumper over the fully outstretched arms of Alex Caruso. Check it out: 

One thing has become clear early on this NBA season: It’s good to have a Curry on your team. 

Embiid monster block on DeRozan

Down by four with 10 seconds remaining, the Bulls were looking to extend the game by scoring a quick basket and then trying to force a turnover or foul. DeMar DeRozan attacked the rim and cocked the ball back for a dunk, but Embiid met him at the iron and blocked the attempt. Embiid was called for a foul on the floor, but the call was overturned following a coaches challenge by Doc Rivers at Embiid’s behest. 

In addition to sealing the win for the Sixers, the play also served to show off Embiid’s extreme athleticism and defensive dexterity. Very few other players in the league can do what he does on that end of the floor.  

Source: CBSSports.com

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