76ers rout Bulls despite missing pair of All-Stars
Tobias Harris scored 24 points and Dwight Howard notched a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds as the visiting Philadelphia 76ers earned their third straight victory Thursday with a 127-105 rout of the Chicago Bulls in both teams’ first game after the All-Star break.
Philadelphia shined without All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, who remain out due to issues related to COVID-19 contact tracing. The 76ers led by seven points at halftime and swelled the advantage to as many as 26 in the second half while improving to 2-5 without Embiid and 3-3 without Simmons.
Seven players finished in double figures for Philadelphia, which outscored Chicago 78-42 in the paint, a season high allowed for the Bulls.
Returning from a 13-game absence with a sprained shoulder, Lauri Markkanen led the Bulls with 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting — including a season-high seven 3-pointers on seven attempts. Zach LaVine (19 points), Coby White (18) and Thaddeus Young (14) followed, while Wendell Carter Jr. grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
Ball security was an issue for the Bulls, who committed 19 turnovers compared to 11 for Philadelphia.
The 76ers earned their sixth successive victory against the Bulls and moved to 2-0 against Chicago this season. Philadelphia picked up a 112-105 home win on Feb. 19, as Embiid torched Chicago for a career-high 50 points while adding 17 rebounds.
Howard’s double-double Thursday was the 735th of his career, the most among active players. LeBron James (504) is Howard’s next closest pursuer.
Furkan Korkmaz added 16 points for Philadelphia, while Tony Bradley (7-for-7 from the field) scored 14 and Matisse Thybulle chipped in 13 while contributing five steals.
Seth Curry (12 points, seven assists) and Shake Milton (10 points, eight rebounds) also finished in double figures.
Buoyed by 49 percent shooting, the 76ers took a 64-57 lead into the break, benefiting from a balanced attack led by Harris (13 points) and Bradley (12). Curry, Korkmaz and Danny Green followed with nine points apiece.
White led all scorers with 15 first-half points, while Markkanen had 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting, including 4-for-4 accuracy from deep.
Chicago is set to host the Miami Heat on Friday, as both teams complete their first back-to-backs of the second half. The 76ers also are set to conclude a back-to-back, as they travel to face Washington (likely still without Embiid and Simmons) before beginning a four-game homestand on Sunday.
–Field Level Media
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