Chicago Bulls start slowly, then can't stop Simmons in loss to Sixers
The latest trend for the Chicago Bulls is "last game of the road trip" malaise.
They took a day off after Monday's disappointing double-overtime loss in New Orleans but had no energy at the start of Wednesday night's game in Philadelphia. The Bulls fell behind early and never recovered in a 115-101 loss to the 76ers.
This was the last stop on a three-game trip. The trek was going well until midway through the fourth quarter in New Orleans.
The Bulls opened with a win in Atlanta, then built an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Pelicans but gave it away. They'll be back home from Friday to face the Los Angeles Lakers.
The last time the Bulls (18-30) had a multiple-game road trip, they were blown out during the last stop at Indiana.
"There was probably a little hangover from that (New Orleans) game, but you can't let it affect the way you play," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters after the game. "I don't think we came out with any grit, toughness tonight. It just kind of became 'my-turn shot.' A guy took a bad one and he said, `Well, if he's going to take a bad one, I'm going to take a bad one.' It just kind of trickled down."
Philadelphia's Ben Simmons recorded one of the fastest triple-doubles in league history, reaching the milestone about a minute into the third quarter. Simmons finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists, collecting his second triple-double against the Bulls in two tries this season.
Sixers center Joel Embiid played against the Bulls for the first time in his NBA career and produced 22 points. Dario Saric had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Bobby Portis led the Bulls with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Zach LaVine had a decent stat line with 21 points in 24 minutes. He hit 8 of 15 shots from the field, knocked down 3 baskets from 3-point range and finished the first alley-oop dunk of his Bulls career off a pass from David Nwaba midway through the third quarter.
The bad-shot competition began right away for the Bulls when they hit 6 of 26 shots and 1 of 10 3-pointers in the opening quarter, while falling behind 22-9.
There was plenty of bad news for the Bulls in this game.
Jerian Grant had such a tough time against Simmons, Hoiberg subbed Nwaba in his place to start the third quarter. Grant later got a fat lip when he took an elbow to the mouth from Embiid, Robin Lopez picked up a technical foul and Lauri Markkanen extended his streak of 3-point misses to 15 before finally hitting his last attempt of the night.
The only positive probably was backup point guard Ryan Arcidiacono, a member of Villanova's national championship team of 2016, getting a loud ovation from Philadelphia fans, still in a raucous mood after the Eagles victory in the NFC title game.
Point guard Kris Dunn missed all three games on this trip due to a concussion. He fell awkwardly and hit the floor hard late in the loss to Golden State last Wednesday at the United Center, and it's not clear when he will be ready to return.
Dunn and Lauri Markkanen were chosen to participate in the Rising Stars game during all-star weekend.
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