Blame the post-Thanksgiving hangover, blame the lack of Joel Embiid, blame the fact that the Chicago Bulls are a pretty good team while the Philadelphia 76ers are certainly not. But whatever the cause, Philly got steamrolled last night at the Wells Fargo Center, losing 105-89 in a wire-to-wire loss that was never particularly close.
It was an ugly performance by our Ballers, who committed 19 turnovers, sent the Bulls to the line for 26 free throws, and got outrebounded 51-40. (Without some decent garbage-time stat-stuffing, the numbers probably would've been even more dire.) Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade combined for 52 points on 21-33 shooting against us, while Philly's own starting wing combo of Gerald Henderson and Robert Covington managed just 2-11 between them, going from hot to cold like a disappointing pizza delivery. Jahlil Okafor was also a -27 in 26 minutes, and if Nerlens Noel could just get back healthy very soon that would be great thanks.
Those willing to peek out from behind their hands on occasion in this one might've seen some positives to take away. Nik Stauskas had a couple bad turnovers, but still finished with a very nice 13-5-3 stat line, including three blocks (!!) and a pair of triples, extending his career-long streak of games with a made trey to 13. Richaun Holmes also had 13 points and 3 blocks, including a catch-and-shoot corner three (WOOOO), making a push for further minutes that should be increasingly hard for Brett Brown to ignore. And Ersan Ilyasova did his damnedest to keep the Sixers in this one, drawing fouls and charges and herky-jerking his way to 14 and 7.
This was always going to be a loss, though, and if you were to avoid one Sixers game this year, this would've been a pretty smart miss. JoJo back tomorrow to co-host the Cleveland Cavaliers, who we played tough at home once before this season. Asking for a second straight competitive game against the East's best might be too much, but I'll always rather take our chances against the best with Embiid than against the pretty-good without.