Bulls not ready for prime time, lose to Sixers
The Bulls got their one chance to play on national television Friday and they didn't put on a good show.
They led by a point at halftime, then hit just 2 of 19 shots from 3-point range in the second half and Philadelphia roared back to win 100-89 at the Wells Fargo Center.
This was a night for the unknowns. Sharpshooting forward Furkan Korkmaz scored a game-high 24 points, hitting 6 of 9 attempts from long range. And Sixers rookie Matisse Thybulle made things tough on Zach LaVine, who led the Bulls with 23 points, but was 0-for-7 from 3-point range.
"We did have some good looks and some situations I think we could capitalize on and we didn't," Bulls coach Jim Boylen told reporters after the game. "To hold a team to 100 on their home floor, we've got to try to score 101 and we didn't do that."
Playing without centers Wendell Carter Jr. (sprained ankle) and Daniel Gafford (dislocated thumb), the Bulls started Luke Kornet for the first time. The matchup was about as good as they could have asked for, since Philadelphia was without all-star Joel Embiid. He had surgery last week to repair a dislocated finger.
The Sixers started the game focused on Ben Simmons. The 6-foot-10 point guard took Kris Dunn into the post several times in the first quarter and eventually Dunn went to the bench with 2 fouls.
Simmons quieted down after that, but finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. Al Horford scored 20 points filling in for Embiid.
Kornet played reasonably well, finishing with 13 points and 2 blocks, but just 3 rebounds. The Bulls were plus-3 with Kornet on the floor, though, while backup Cristiano Felicio, playing his third game of the season, was minus-16.
A familiar issue for the Bulls is Lauri Markkanen not being a major contributor on offense. He got some easy baskets running the floor in the first half and scored 12 points. But he was scoreless and took just 2 shots after halftime.
"We do have to get him going more. Some of it's on him, some of it's on me," Boylen said. "So we've got to get him going. I just want him to be aggressive. In his opportunities, be as aggressive as you can."
Thad Young, who began his NBA career in Philadelphia, played more than Markkanen, but couldn't get much going either. Young finished with 4 points and 3 rebounds in 32 minutes.
"I just think it's a learning thing and a growing thing," Boylen said of Markkanen. "There's been time when he's very aggressive and he's got himself involved and there's times when I think I've got to get him involved. Sometimes guy have to help themselves and sometimes you've got to help them. That's just the nature of the game."
Late in the first quarter, the Sixers had a 3-point basket taken off the scoreboard because they had six players on the court. Forward Kyle O'Quinn was standing under the basket, then tried to sneak off the floor along the baseline as Korkmaz knocked down an open 3-pointer.
Of course, he was open because the Bulls couldn't guard six with five.
The Sixers were given a technical foul, so the extra man resulted in a 4-point swing. Philadelphia native Ryan Arcidiacono finished the first quarter with a driving scoop to put the Bulls up 24-21.
Scouting reportBulls vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 7 p.m. at the United Center
TV: NBCSCH • Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Outlook: This is the last stop on a six-game road trip for the Cavs, who played in Memphis Friday. ... After the "thugs and slugs" controversy involving a misspeak by first-year coach John Beilein, Cleveland won two in a row, beating Detroit and Denver on the road, then were swept by the L.A. teams. ... Second-year guard Collin Sexton is the top scorer at 18.8 ppg, followed by PF Kevin Love (17.0), C Tristan Thompson (12.8) and rookie PG Darius Garland (12.3). ... The Bulls haven't seen the Cavs since the first week of the season when they lost 117-111 Oct. 30 in Cleveland. Thompson had 23 points and Love 20 rebounds that night.
Next: Milwaukee Bucks, 4 p.m. Monday at Fiserve Forum
-- Mike McGraw