The Sixers bounced back from a letdown loss to the Grizzlies with a commanding 115-101 win over the Bulls Wednesday night.
Ben Simmons put on a performance on Australian Heritage Night. He needed only three quarters to record his fifth triple-double: 19 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists (see story).
The Sixers snapped a seven-game losing streak at home against the Bulls. Their last win in Philadelphia over Chicago had been Nov. 2, 2013, when Michael Carter-Williams posted a 26-point, 10 assist double-double.
With the win, the Sixers improved to 23-21. The Bulls are 18-30.
• Simmons joined Oscar Robertson and Alvan Adams on the top-three list of most career triple-doubles through 50 games (Simmons played his 43rd). Simmons also ranks third behind Russell Westbrook and LeBron James this season.
“I feel like he was just focused on the game,” Embiid said of Simmons. “We played tough defensively, especially the first quarter, so there was a lot of rebounds to grab and he was extra aggressive offensively. Besides Australia Night, I think that he just wanted it tonight and him not making [the All-Star Game] might have had something to do with it, too.”
• Joel Embiid scored 22 points with five rebounds (below his season average 11.0), while Dario Saric stepped up with a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double. Saric was a massive plus-31 on the night.
• The Sixers bounced back from committing 24 turnovers to the Grizzlies Monday. They cut the errors down to 15 against the Bulls. Simmons committed six.
“Our guys were good tonight,” Brett Brown said. “We responded from a disappointing loss in Memphis the way that I had hoped.”
• The Sixers had to make up for the absence of T.J. McConnell, who was not with the team to attend his father-in-law’s funeral. Brown bumped up Simmons’ minutes to 39 (average 35.0) and played Larry Drew II another nine.
“We had a job to do tonight [and] got it done,” Simmons said.
• Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (4 for 7 from three) got the start at shooting guard once again in place of JJ Redick (leg) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist). With those injuries, Brown took another look at two-way contract player James Young (four points in 12 minutes).
• Trevor Booker dislocated his left middle finger late in the fourth quarter. He raised his hand and showed the crowd, which looked … uncomfortable to say the least. X-rays were negative.
• Jerian Grant caught an accidental elbow in the face from Embiid in the fourth. Grant fell to the ground and Embiid stood by him while he was attended to by the Bulls’ medical staff. Grant is the brother of former Sixer Jerami Grant.
• Villanova national championship hero Ryan Arcidiacono received a loud welcome when he checked in for the Bulls. Arcidiacono (one rebound, two assists) signed a two-way contract with Chicago this past summer.
• Phillies World Series winner Cole Hamels, boxing legend Evander Holyfield and former Super Bowl champion Franco Harris were in attendance.
Look who’s at the game. pic.twitter.com/3Gsk7hAzUs— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) January 25, 2018
Evander Holyfield and Franco Harris at the Sixers game: pic.twitter.com/vfSH3tfTK9— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) January 25, 2018
• Prior to the game, Embiid, Saric and Simmons were named to the World Team for the Rising Stars game during All-Star weekend. The selection is significant to them on two levels: to represent the Sixers together as well as their countries (see story).