Game Recap – Philadelphia 76ers @ Chicago Bulls


93. Final. 115. 24. 96

Philadelphia 76ers Doomed In The Third Quarter Again!

The Philadelphia 76ers could not overcome the Chicago Bulls to get their second win of the season, losing 96-115. The same story came through in this game as in so many other losses, that these young still Sixers need to learn how to compete with the best teams in the league and not give up huge runs to fight back from.

The game started atrociously with both teams struggling to get the ball in the hoop, evidenced by the Sixers starting 0-9 from the field. Luckily aside from the ice-cold start, the first half was a positive one for Philly. Their usual weaknesses did not come through at first, as the team seemed to be on the same page ending the half with a 5 point lead with the main man for Philly being Jahlil Okafor. The Sixers lead man hailing from Chicago set the tone by scoring early and often, forcing the Bulls to have to double him only minutes into the game. This time, the team was able to take advantage of the attention Jah got by scoring points of their own.

The main beneficiary was Tony Wroten. He really showed his value in the second quarter by being the spark plug of the Philadelphia 76ers’ offense. During the run that gave the Sixers some control in the game, he hit two threes and was able to tip the ball for a fastbreak layup. Jerami Grant also showed his defensive prowess by blocking Joakim Noah three times in a row. For Chicago, Jimmy Butler was the thorn in Philly’s side, netting 19 points, and linking up with Pau Gasol for a couple hi-low buckets.

Unfortunately the second half was a different story for Philly. Everything that worked for them in the first half went away in the third, with the team only scoring 12 points and giving up 34, and the Sixers ending the quarter scoreless in over 3.5 minutes. The Bulls really amped up their effort to shut down the Sixers, with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Jimmy Butler giving the Sixers hell on that end of the floor, while the entire team got hot on the offensive side. Tony Snell was the Bulls’ source of energy, with every 50-50 ball ending up in his hands.

This is an unnerving trend for the Sixers. It’s mind-boggling how often they come apart after the half, which should come down to the coaching staff. This group should be rallying and focusing the troops, but instead they are continually out-hustled and out-executed  time and time again. I’ve seen many voices out there pleading for Coach Brown to make better adjustments, and this game is further evidence that he hasn’t found the magic touch yet.  To his defense, he has openly admitted to limited offensive plays so far.  In one interview, he revealed the Sixers have only two plays at crunch time: get the ball to Okafor at the post, or pass out for a perimeter shot.  By now, adjustments need to be made.

Not only do the coaches need to adjust but the players do, as well. They need to realize that coming out with energy will cure a lot of their ailments; resting on what happened in the second quarter got them the loss, as immediately in the third, and to start the fourth, the Bulls showed why they have high hopes for the season.

Next: Philadelphia 76ers: Jahlil Okafor is a liability

Player of the Game

While many players showed flashes of brilliance in this game, the constant presence of Jahlil was the only bright spot throughout. He showed in the beginning of the game that he can hang with Pau’s go-go-gadget arms, he can bang with Taj’s physicality, and that he can keep up with Joakim’s persistence. He couldn’t do it alone, however, with the rest of the team struggling to put the ball in the basket.

Looking Ahead

The Philadelphia 76ers travel to Atlanta on Wednesday to face the Hawks. The Sixers will again be tested by a talented team, using this game as a barometer on how far they need to come as a team.