The Chicago Bulls were able to hang with the big boys tonight but ultimately fell 112-105 to the Philadelphia 76ers. Chicago got a great fourth-quarter performance from Zach LaVine on an otherwise tough night for their leading scorer. He ended the game with 30 points but shot 9-28 (32.1%) overall. Otherwise, Garrett Temple, Tomáš Satoranský, and Thaddeus Young turned in decent performances. Wendell Carter Jr. even chipped in 15 points in 25 minutes. However, it was no answer for Joel Embiid and the first-place Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bulls entered this game 12-15 and fresh off of overcoming a 25-point deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons. Philadelphia, on the other hand, came in at 19-10 as the top team in the Eastern Conference. However, the 76ers had to play without Ben Simmons due to illness. Still, the 76ers still had MVP candidate Joel Embiid ready to take on hopeful All-Star Zach LaVine and the Bulls.
No Answer for Embiid
The Bulls have struggled with big-man defense all season long. They don't have a capable defender in the post, and they had to try to throw anything they could against Joel Embiid. It went about as well as you thought it would. Despite the rest of the Bulls mostly holding their own and shutting down the rest of the Sixers, Embiid casually dropped 50 points -- his first career 50-point game -- and chipped in 17 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks to boot. Embiid is having a phenomenal season, but you still have to be embarrassed by the defensive effort from Chicago's bigs.
LaVine Lives in the Fourth
Zach LaVine was having a tough night on national television until he finally kicked it into gear in the fourth quarter. As has been his style all year, LaVine played his best minutes as the game came to a close, and he came out with another 30-point game. His season average for scoring now sits at 28.5. Still, it wasn't enough. Even though the Bulls even managed to take the lead in the closing minutes, Embiid essentially moved the Bulls players out of the way to close them out.
What's On Tap Next?
The 12-16 Bulls will face the 12-16 Sacramento Kings tomorrow, Saturday, February 20th, at 8:00 CT in Chicago. The Kings won the last matchup against Chicago, but they will visit the Bulls in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Tune in tomorrow to see if the Bulls can make it six in a row for the Kings. Make sure to tune in to the latest Bulls On Tap podcast for further postgame analysis.