Bulls

Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade lead Bulls to rout of 76ers

Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade lead Bulls to rout of 76ers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — After a long, six-game road trip, the Chicago Bulls are heading home with a winning record and an infusion of confidence.

Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade had 26 points apiece to lead the Bulls to a 105-89 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.

Taj Gibson added 12 points for the Bulls, who finished a six-game road trip with a 4-2 record. Butler rested for the entire fourth quarter of the blowout.

"On this trip, the way we performed, we started to understand we're a good team and can play with anyone in any building," Wade said. "It was a very successful trip and we finished it off right."

Chicago led from start to finish against the short-handed 76ers, who played without center Joel Embiid.

[MORE BULLS: Bulls Talk Podcast: Is Jimmy Butler a top 10 player?]

"I like the way we're playing," Butler said. "If we keep guarding, rebounding and doing what we're supposed to do, we're going to win a lot of games. Now we have to go home and win a couple more."

Ersan Ilyasova had 14 points to pace Philadelphia, which certainly could've used Embiid.

"You saw an NBA team that's good," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. "That's a good team, a really good team."

The Bulls ran away from the 76ers with a dominant third quarter in which they outscored Philadelphia 33-17 to enter the fourth quarter ahead 90-64.

"To come out with this type of effort was terrific," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We had good urgency out of the gate."

Butler had nine points in the period as Chicago did damage inside and outside. Wade's fastbreak dunk early in the period helped the Bulls match their largest lead to that point at 67-52. And the advantage was 20, 79-59, with 4:35 left in the period after a pretty sequence that featured a Wade layup from Rajon Rondo followed by a Butler layup from Wade. Chicago ended the quarter with consecutive 3-pointers from Denzel Valentine and Nikola Mirotic.

The lead was 28 points with just over seven minutes left in the game when Hoiberg emptied his bench.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Recap of the NBA 2020 All-Star game in Chicago

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Recap of the NBA 2020 All-Star game in Chicago

David Haugh, Alex Maragos and Chris Bleck join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The NBA All-Star Game is over and the city was the biggest star of the weekend. The guys weigh in on the thrilling finish and if the rule changes saved the All-Star game.

5:30 - Michael Jordan was not in the "House That MJ Built." Should his Airness have had more of a presence?

9:00 - Michael Reinsdorf and John Paxson spent the weekend asking some of the sport's heavy hitters about how to fix their front office. Will the changes work?

13:00 - Jesse Rogers joins Kap from Cubs camp in Mesa to talk about Javy Baez's comments about not being ready to play some days. They also discuss Kris Bryant's candid comments about his contract and his future with the Cubs.

18:00 - The guys weigh in on Tom Rickett's comments on the state of the team's baseball budget.

26:00 - Chuck Garfien joins Kap from Sox camp in Glendale. They talk about the excitement level with everybody in camp, the team's thoughts on the Astros scandal, the chances Nick Madrigal breaks camp with the team and the Carlos Rodon's progress from Tommy John surgery.

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

 

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NBA Power Rankings: Spirited Elam ending caps off a successful All-Star weekend

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USA Today

NBA Power Rankings: Spirited Elam ending caps off a successful All-Star weekend

The city of Chicago is drawing rave reviews for putting on a tremendous show at All-Star weekend. Sure, it was brutally cold last Thursday and Friday, but once inside the venues, the participants and spectators were treated to some spectacular entertainment.

The weekend ended with the most spirited All-Star game competition we’ve seen in decades... maybe ever. Not many people had heard about the Elam ending which establishes a target score to win the game rather than a typical timed format. It had received positive reviews during the summer TBT (The Basketball Tournament) which is a winner take all team competition involving players representing their former universities. Chris Paul suggested to NBA commissioner Adam Silver that the format could be a big hit for the All-Star game, and boy was he right.

The 10 players on the court competed with the ferocity normally saved for the NBA Finals. We got to enjoy the world’s best players completely locked in on the defensive end, refusing to give any ground, and going at each other with bone-jarring screens and physical back to the basket pounding.

Some analysts feared the 24 points added to the leading team’s total to establish the target score would result in a fourth quarter that would be over in just a few minutes. Instead, the greatest players in the game battled for almost 45 minutes, with the pressure to get to the target score resulting in missed free throws by normally excellent shooters and a blown uncontested lay-up by Team Giannis’ Kemba Walker.

Team LeBron wound up winning by two, anks to a made free throw by Chicago native Anthony Davis to reach the target score of 157, and when it was over, all the players talked about how much fun it was to compete under the new format.

Yes, the 24-point idea came about to honor the memory of Kobe Bryant, and you know that Bryant would have loved the way his brothers competed with all their will and talent. Matter of fact, my only concern was that the players were competing TOO hard. For example, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s chasedown block of LeBron James in the closing minutes was spectacular, but can you imagine if either superstar had been hurt by tumbling to the ground after meeting at the rim?

You can expect some tweaks to the format in future years, and it’s probably unlikely the players will compete with the same kind of physicality we saw Sunday night, given the special circumstances involved with the whole weekend serving as a tribute to Kobe.

But it looks like the NBA has found a format that will re-energize the All-Star game, and that will be the biggest takeaway from a very successful weekend in Chicago.

Now, a look at this week’s power rankings as the schedule resumes on Thursday.