Expected, this duel between two of the flagship franchises of the East has generally kept all its promises.
However, we quickly thought that he was going to turn into a demonstration, when the Sixers took a big lead in the first half (up to +19). But the Bullsled by a super Nikola Vucevic (23 points, 19 rebounds) were able to return to the scoreboard, to finally offer us a money time at the knife, where each team went blow for blow and had its chance.
That’s when Joel Embiid (25 points, 7 rebounds), with a 3-point shot 18 seconds from the end, decided to kill all suspense to allow Philadelphia to win and post the same record as Chicago, after ten days of competition.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
— Joel Embiid defeats Chicago. For his return to the courts after an absence match (knee), the All-Star pivot did the job, finishing as his team’s often leading scorer. Complete and clean to shoot (9/15), despite his ball losses (5) and his fouls (4) which somehow woke up Chicago before the break, he showed the way in Philadelphia. Above all, scoring the winning basket 18 seconds from the end, from the 3-pt line, to air-condition an entire room and win his match in the match with Nikola Vucevic.
— The streak continues for Philadelphia. Twelve. It has now been twelve games since the Sixers lost to the Bulls. Their last defeat dates back to March 2019, when Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons were still playing in Pennsylvania. Since then, the Illinois franchise has been systematically powerless in front of Philly. Nevertheless, this period of scarcity could very well have ended today, if the teammates of DeMar DeRozan (24 points) and Zach LaVine (20 points) had been more killer and effective in the late game. But, with if…
✅ Nikola Vucevic. More than DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine, the Montenegrin was the real boss of the Bulls tonight. Author of a big double-double against Joel Embiid, he guided his team when they needed it most, that is to say to pick up the score. Accurate behind the arc (5/7 at 3-pts) and omnipresent on the rebound, but mistreated in defense, the former Orlando pivot delivered one of his most successful outings of the season and he will now need capitalize on it, for the good of his collective.
✅ George Niang. Precious off the bench, with his offensive contribution (15 points) and his solidity in defense, over a short playing time, the 29-year-old strong winger above all made the Bulls suffer with his quality of outside shooting (3/ 4 to 3-pts). A welcome performance to compensate for the discreet and/or failed evenings of some of his teammates.
⛔ James Harden. After a hot start, “The Beard” has been less well for five games. Evidenced by his performance this night where, despite a great efficiency in distribution (11 assists for 3 ball losses) and on the line (11/11 in throws), he watered a lot and spoiled the shot: 2/13 on shots, including 0/5 to 3-pts. Never on the pace and not on his plate, like Tyrese Maxey (14 points, 5/14 on shots), he tore himself up, without however costing Philadelphia the victory.
⛔ The start of Chicago. If they were able to give themselves the possibility of winning in the money time, the Bulls will still be able to regret their failed start to the game, which caused them to chase the score during part of the match. Taken by the throat by their opponents and clumsy, despite the efforts of DeMar DeRozan, they quickly fell ten points behind. Because, in defense, Billy Donovan’s players were also unable to slow down the collective strike force of Doc Rivers’ men. Until the second half of the second quarter…
Chicago (3-4) : trip to Brooklyn, Tuesday night to Wednesday (12:30 a.m.).
Philadelphia (3-4) : trip to Washington, on the night of Monday to Tuesday (00:00).