The Philadelphia 76ers rebounded from an ugly season-opening loss in Boston, and rolled over the Chicago Bulls. After an early offensive flurry from Chicago, the Sixers dominated the remainder of the game and cruised to a 19 point win.
RING THAT BELL.
The Philadelphia 76ers had a golden opportunity to right the ship after a disappointing blunder against the Celtics. They seized it, and had their foot on the gas pedal from the tip. The had a young, injury riddled team coming to South Philly, and they outplayed them in seemingly every way.
The offense was flowing. The defense was energized, and the Sixers had 16 more rebounds than the Bulls. The white t-shirt clad crowd was raucous and rowdy for 48 minutes, and the Sixers gave them more than enough to cheer about.
The Sixers two best players led the way. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid could not be stopped. From start to finish, they made their presence felt. There was nobody on Chicago that could possibly slow either of them down. Simmons had a triple-double by the third quarter, and Embiid feasted on a young rookie.
Robert Covington was his typical self. Cov showed incredible activity on the defensive end while knocking down threes and filling his lane in transition. The trio of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Robert Covington can turn defense into offense like few players in the league can.
Zach LaVine led the Bulls in scoring with 30 points. LaVine was 11-19 from the floor and had an excellent first quarter. Bobby Portis (who always seems to play well against the Sixers) had 20 points, to go along with 11 rebounds. Chicago native Jabari Parker chipped in 15 points.
Simmons and Embiid did not get proper support from their teammates in the opening night, but there were contributions aplenty tonight. Excluding the dynamic pair, six Sixers registered double-digits in points.
Welcome to the NBA Wendell Carter Jr. Joel Embiid did whatever he wanted to the rookie. Embiid began his bullying early in the first. Robin Lopez couldn’t do much to slow JoJo down either. Embiid was facing up, Dirk-legging, dunking, and euro-stepping tonight. His 30 points seemed almost quiet. 14 foul shots and two turnovers are stats that are key to Embiid’s success, and paramount for the Sixers’ offense.
Oh and by the way he had 4 blocks. Joel Embiid was a beast in every facet of the game.
Much like Joel Embiid, the Bulls have no answer for Ben Simmons. Simmons was a blur in transition. He’s at his best in the open floor, where he was racing to the basket and dishing to teammates for open jumpers. Simmons’ insurmountable size advantage allowed him to get easy buckets close to the basket.
Defensively Simmons was darting all over the floor. In the early season, he has been disruptive on and off the ball. His defense is criminally underrated. Simmons passes were pinpoint and his vision is elite. Ben Simmons is playing as well as anyone in the NBA.
Landry Shamet has been the team’s most pleasant surprise in October. Shamet looks incredibly comfortable on both ends of the floor. He had two sequences tonight when he turned a steal into a three. All of his shot attempts were from beyond the arc. Shamet runs similar actions to J.J. Redick. He curls off screens, and sets plenty of them himself. Shamet looks right at home in the offense.
Defensively, Shamet looks up to par. In regards to playing time, defense was his biggest question. If he keeps defending like he did tonight, he’ll be getting a large chunk of nightly minutes. Landry Shamet is for real.
Robert Covington had an up-and-down game in Boston. He was making great plays off the ball, but had too many lapses while on the ball, and took ill-advised shots. Tonight was a different story.
Covington dropped 20 points and was excellent on defense. He was disrupting Chicago’s offense with his active hands and relentless navigation. Covington is oft-maligned (unfairly), but he’s a vital piece to the Sixers’ success. There was no questioning how great Covington was tonight. His defense helps jumpstart the entire team, and tonight Cov was a stud.
First things first: HE MADE A THREE.
Markelle Fultz is firmly under the microscope. His problems and success will be thrust into the limelight. Fultz’s efforts against Chicago were a microcosm of what we’ve seen from him. He showed flashes promise, but it took some bumps and miscues for him to get there.
Fultz starting is far from being a success thus far. His lack of shooting clogs the floor, and he is still going through the motions of becoming a consistent defender. There are still plenty of moments where the game looks too fast for him. He’ll recognize plays late, or make the wrong read on offense, but those problems are all related to experience.
Early in the second quarter Fultz knocked down a jumper, followed by him crashing the offensive glass and a pass to Joel Embiid for a dunk. The crowd erupted, but that sequence showed three things. The jump shot took confidence. The rebound was all hustle. And the pass was selfless. The first three-pointer of his career was a glorious sight, and one all Sixers fans rejoiced.
Fultz hasn’t put together a complete game yet, but he’s showing he’s capable. It’s only a matter of time
This game was precisely what the Sixers needed. They beat the brakes off a vulnerable team at home in front of 20,000 boisterous fans. It was a tight game for a half, then a 17-0 third quarter run extinguished the Bulls.
Their execution was vastly improved, and their energy was unwavering. Dario Saric bounced back from a poor game, and J.J. Redick’s activity was facilitating the offense. The stars performed as stars do. The role players stepped up, and the bench cleared at the end.
The blowout over Chicago rinsed out the sour taste in the mouth of Philadelphia basketball. The Sixers reminded everyone just how talented they are, and that they mean business. The Sixers have a perfect opportunity to gain momentum by playing their preseason foe, the Orlando Magic, this coming Saturday.