KC Medico, Staff
The second place Philadelphia 76ers faced off against the third place Chicago Bulls in a showdown that came down to the wire. Seth Curry was the one to hit the dagger that would put the game on ice and Joel Embiid who saved their lead with a monster block resulting in the Sixers winning 103-98.
Coming into this game, the Sixers were missing three of their starters: Ben Simmons who continues to sit out due to mental health issues, Danny Green out with a hamstring injury and Tobias Harris who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. The 76ers needed to rely on their remaining starters Seth Curry and Joel Embiid to get the job done.
Curry has been hot by starting the season averaging 17.1 points and is second in the NBA in three point percentage shooting at 54.1 percent. His hot streak continued into this game where he finished with a statline of 22 points, went 9-for-14 from the field, and five rebounds.
In a post-game interview, Doc Rivers stated, “You know what he’s doing better, everybody knows who he is now and last year I thought if you got physical with him, they could take him off the ball and deny the catches.”
Rivers also added that, “Now he’s being relentless in getting open and once he gets open with Joel (Embiid) coming, it’s a tough cover for anyone so we put them in that coverage.”
Joel Embiid had a quiet game putting up 18 points. However, he got a crucial block in the final seconds of the game and with 10 seconds left, the Bulls had a chance to cut the deficit to a one score game. Lonzo Ball inbounded the ball to DeMar DeRozan at the top of the key. DeRozan got a block which allowed him to get a clear path to the basket. He went up for the dunk but out of nowhere Embiid came swooping in to block the dunk attempt to officially seal the game. The call on the floor was initially a foul but upon further review it was clear Embiid got nothing but the ball.
There were a few headaches along the way to this win for the Sixers, as DeRozan had his third 30-point game in a row finishing with a total 37 points. With help from Zach Lavine who finished with 27 points, the two got on a hot streak to tie the game with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. If not for great plays from Curry and Embiid, the outcome of this game would have favored the Bulls.
The Sixers will move on trying to continue their early push for the first place spot in the Eastern Conference as Curry and Embiid try to stay hot with their three other starters out to start the season.