By: Kylan Watson
With 11 games left in the NBA regular season the Philadelphia 76ers began their second to last road trip by traveling to Chicago to face the Bulls. Chicago was looking for their second win of the week against the Sixers after beating them in Philly in a double overtime thriller on Monday night. Philly played like a team on a mission tonight as they made it rain from the three-point line drowning Chicago 116-91.
Unlike Monday night the Sixers started this game off hot they their first couple of shots because of their ball movement. They made the right passes and found the open man, and before the Bulls could even get settled into the game, they were down by 16-points early in the first quarter. Philly had 23 of their 30-assists by half-time with Joel Embiid (12-points, grabbed seven rebounds and had seven assists) and Tobias Harris (20-points, grabbed nine rebounds, and had eight assists) accounting for 12 of those in the first two quarters. The efficient ball movement allowed most of their possessions to end with a three-point attempt that found the bottom of the basket. They made 16/37 three-pointers and that allowed them to have a 30-point lead by half-time, and that effectively ended this contest and Joel Embiid’s night.
When the Sixers needed someone to score tonight in Embiid’s stead in the second half the trio of De’Anthony Melton (25-points), Tyrese Maxey (21-points), and Tobias Harris ended any hopes the Bulls had of making this interesting. They combined for 66 of the Sixers 116-points, Harris had one of his best overall nights of the season so far. His scoring resurgence and playmaking was big for the Sixers tonight. James Harden did not play in the contest because of a sore Achilles, so there were plenty of assist opportunities to go around in this game and Harris took full advantage of getting to show off his passing ability. He had seven assists tonight and played aggressively, Harris is at his best when he decides no one is going to stop him from getting his shot off. It did not matter if there was a hand in his face or not, he was not deterred and his choices were rewarded by the ball finding the bottom of the net. His deadeye ability from the field will continue to open up space for Embiid, Harden, and Maxey to operate. Additionally, they will need to find a way to let Harris get at least 10-12 touches/opportunities a game to score the ball. So, he can continue to be a difference maker on both sides of the ball.
The Sixers will prepare to face the Golden State Warriors on Friday night. They will need to continue to use their ball movement to take advantage of an aggressive Warriors defensive scheme. Moving the ball will allow them to find the holes in their defense and give them high-percentage opportunities to keep up with a Warriors team that plays better at home. Additionally, Philly will need to stay attached to their man and make sure that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole see hands in their faces when they put a shot up. If they can do these things, they can get their 50th victory of the season.