The Bulls took care of business in crushing the hapless (and Embiid-less, so they were awful AND boring) 76ers Friday night. The win completed the Bulls circus trip at a 4-2 mark, and they’re 10-6 overall.
When the Bulls started out with an 8-0 run to start the game it looked like what’s been common this season in a run-away-and-hide blowout. It didn’t turn out exactly like that, as another custom (Portis/Mirotic frontcourt being bad) delayed the inevitable. The Sixers hit 4 of their mostly-wide-open first 6 threes and went 6/12 for the half, but the Bulls dominated in the spots where they can out-muscle pretty much everyone: rebounds and free throw attempts. In the latter category the Bulls went to the line 20 times in the first half compared to just 6 attempts for Philly. The Bulls weren’t spectacular in the half (9 turnovers) but had the lead to 15 at one time and went into halftime with a 10 point lead.
Then in the 3rd quarter the wheels came off for the Sixers. They shot 6/16 and had 7 turnovers in the period alone, often of the variety that let the Bulls run out and take advantage.
Jimmy Butler was a brilliant 5/5 for eleven points and three assists in that time, finishing the game with 26 points on 10/15 shooting and earning a rest for the entire fourth quarter.
After the lead had gotten over 25 points, that final period was mostly perfunctory. Though it did allow for a short version of the Dwyane Wade show, as he scored 11 points in the first four minutes of the quarter before getting his own rest.
Wade finished with 26 to tie Butler for the Bulls high.
The final 7 minutes of the game had neither of the Two Alphas, and served as early rest for a Bulls squad that gets a long break until a Wednesday night date against...the Lakers, again? Do the Bulls ever play anybody who’s good? Crushing the bad ones is a nice change of pace, regardless. And if all the other teams are bad then it leaves the Bulls as a playoff team by default!