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For many reasons, the Sixers’ 114-105 win Saturday night over the Bulls must be an especially satisfying one for Sixers head coach Doc Rivers.
The victory was the Sixers’ six in a row and the 1,000th of Rivers’ coaching career. The Chicago native now sits at 1,000-706, 57-25 as a Sixer.
Rivers’ team won despite again being highly shorthanded.
The full list of Sixers out: Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and Isaiah Joe (health and safety protocols); Danny Green (left hamstring tightness); Ben Simmons (personal reasons); and Grant Riller (left knee injury recovery).
The Sixers called up rookies Jaden Springer and Aaron Henry, bringing the two to Chicago instead of having them play in the Delaware Blue Coats’ home opener. They were ultimately there just in case as Rivers used an eight-player rotation for a second game in a row.
Joel Embiid posted 30 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. Furkan Korkmaz scored 25 points on 9-for-13 shooting.
The Bulls’ Zach LaVine scored a team-high 32 points on 12-for-26 shooting.
Two-game road trip complete, the 8-2 Sixers will be home for their next three. They’ll play a back-to-back Monday and Tuesday against the Knicks and Bucks. Here are observations on their win over Chicago:
Welcome back, Furkan
After a first quarter without a ton of offense on either side, the Sixers exploded for 15 straight points out of nowhere in the middle of the second.
Korkmaz nailed one of his familiar, “Yep, I’m feeling it” transition three-pointers during that run and went for 14 first-half points on 5-for-6 shooting.
Embiid also snapped into a zone, wrapping up the 15-0 surge with a trailing three-ball. He made another three with 7.4 seconds left in the second, giving him 20 points and 10 rebounds at halftime.
Korkmaz’s confidence is apparently infinite, and it’s sure been high this season in fourth quarters. With 11 final-period points Saturday, he has 62 this year in nine appearances. That’s by far the most on the Sixers.
The Sixers’ late-game offense wasn’t always smooth Saturday night. Embiid committed six of the Sixers’ 14 turnovers in the game. Those giveaways led to 23 Bulls points and helped Chicago erase a second-half deficit as high as 14 points.
However, Embiid and Korkmaz managed to carry the Sixers across the finish line. Korkmaz drained a massive three with 3:02 left to extend the Sixers’ lead to 104-99. Embiid ice the game with a fading long-range jumper to make it 112-104 with 15.5 seconds to go.
‘B-Ball Paul,’ NBA starter
Paul Reed, last season’s G League MVP , started his first NBA game in a lineup alongside Tyrese Maxey, Seth Curry, Shake Milton and Embiid.
Though Reed has a penchant for chaos, he mostly played his role and avoided any wildness. In his first stint, Reed picked up a back-tap steal, grabbed an offensive rebound and played solid defense in a tough matchup on DeMar DeRozan. The 22-year-old threw down a put-back dunk early in the second quarter, too, and did the same in the third.