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Recapping the Chicago Bulls: Philadelphia 76ers open with a 17-0 run and never look back in rout

It’s rare for a basketball game to end after six minutes. But the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night already had ceded a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers halfway through the first quarter.

It took barely a minute for the 76ers to set the tone. De’Anthony Melton sank a 3-pointer on the opening play. Tyrese Maxey snagged a sloppy pass from Patrick Williams on the ensuing inbound for a quick layup. Joel Embiid sank a jumper after another empty Bulls play.

Within a breathless 1 minute, 5 seconds, the 76ers had taken a seven-point lead and thrown the Bulls completely on their heels on their way to carving out a 17-0 opening run.

The Bulls had no answer — not from midrange, not from behind the arc, not even from the free-throw line. Zach LaVine scored the first point of the game for the Bulls from the free-throw line with 8:28 left in the quarter but missed his second attempt.

Even after the scoring of the opening six minutes died down, the 76ers posted 76 points — the largest amount the Bulls have allowed in a first half all season — to take a 28-point lead into the locker room. At that point, Embiid determined the game to be over, staying back to begin his postgame cool-down routine with 24 minutes remaining.

The loss snapped the Bulls’ three-game winning — tied for their longest of the season — and shattered a hopeful bubble created by the last double-overtime win over the 76ers in Philadelphia.

The lows

  • DeMar DeRozan exited the game in the third quarter with a right quad strain and did not return. He went 0-for-7 from the field in 21 minutes, scoring four points off free throws. DeRozan previously struggled with a right leg injury ahead of the All-Star break, which forced him to miss several games and severely limited his offensive production when he was on the court.
  • With DeRozan out of character and commission, the other two Bulls stars could not make up the difference. Nikola Vučević scored only eight points on 4-for-10 shooting and logged five rebounds. LaVine led scoring with 16 points, but he was 6-for-15 from the floor and 0-for-2 from 3-point range.
  • Embiid did not start the second half on the court or on the bench for the 76ers, resting the entire second half with the win firmly in hand. But the Bulls couldn’t find a significant edge even with Embiid removed from the picture, outscoring the 76ers only 28-20 in the third quarter and meagerly reducing the 31-point lead to 25 points by the final buzzer. Embiid finished with 12 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in 16 minutes and improved to 13-1 against the Bulls.
  • The Bulls have found success in recent games by matching teams from behind the 3-point arc, but that didn’t happen Wednesday. The 76ers went 16-for-37 from 3-point range with six players making a shot from behind the arc. The Bulls, meanwhile, managed only six 3-pointers on 24% shooting.
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The highs

  • The blowout offered rookie Dalen Terry an opportunity for playing time. He recorded three rebounds in 13 minutes.

Quote of the day

DeRozan declined to speak with reporters to provide an update on his health after leaving the game with a right quad strain in the third quarter.

LaVine and Vučević said they spoke with DeRozan after the game and felt he would “be all right” for the upcoming trip to Portland and Los Angeles. But coach Billy Donovan emphasized concerns about the recurring nature of the injury for DeRozan, who is known for his steadfast insistence on playing every game.

”I’m always concerned because he’s been dealing with it, but I haven’t gotten anything that indicated that he’s going to be out any length of time,” Donovan said. “Most guys are not totally healthy this time of year but they’re on the court and able to work through it. I think for Alex (Caruso) and DeMar, they’re at a place where they physically can’t perform where they want to or need to for us.”

Where they stand

The Bulls fell to 34-38 and remained in 10th in the Eastern Conference with a 1½-game lead over the Indiana Pacers.

What comes next

The Bulls will embark on a three-game trip, facing the Trail Blazers on Friday, then playing a back-to-back against the Lakers and Clippers in Los Angeles on Sunday and Monday.


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