It was a game the Chicago Bulls should have won.
No Ben Simmons. No Joel Embiid. The game was at the United Center. Everybody was rested and Zach LaVine was coming off the adrenaline of playing in his first All-Star game.
But the Bulls laid a rotten egg against this short-handed Sixers squad.
The Sixers scored 30+ points in the first three quarters, finishing with 97 points and a 12 point lead after the third frame. The Bulls really had no interest in defense throughout this game, as it collapsed into garbage time for most of the fourth quarter as the Sixers extended their lead to 20+.
Philly finished off the game with another 30+ point quarter, topping the Bulls 127-105. They shot over 50 percent from the field. The Bulls shot 47 percent from the field as a team and still lost by over 20 points.
Tobias Harris led all scorers with 24 points. Four of Sixers five starters finished with double- figure scoring. Three bench guys also finished with double-digit points. Somebody told Dwight Howard it was 2009 all over again. The veteran big man had a monster 18 point and 12 rebound performance. Per NBC Sports Chicago writer K.C. Johnson, the Sixers scored a Bull’s opponent season high 78 points in the paint.
The sliver of a silver lining for the Bulls was Lauri Markkanen who played well in his first game back after a 13-contest layoff because of a right shoulder sprain. The Finnish big man was 7-for-7 from deep. He led all Bulls scorers with 23 points.
Coby White and Zach LaVine got their points but were both 7-for-16 shooting from the field. LaVine was a -15 in the game.
In the big picture of things, the game was massively disappointing. The Eastern Conference is so competitive for playoff spots that literally every game matters. Plus for awhile there before the All-Star break, the Bulls looked like they were finally reliably besting the teams they should be beating.
A Sixers team without Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is one you have to beat if you’re serious about a playoff spot. To lose by 20+ points in a game that was noncompetitive the entire fourth quarter qualifies the loss tonight among the worst of the season.
Personally, I blame Ryan Arcidiacono for getting rid of the damn man bun. You screwed up our groove my man.
Archie and the boys are right back at it tomorrow night against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.