If you’re a Chicago Bulls fans you know that Thursday nights game are the type of games that have been giving the Bulls trouble all season. For some reason the Bulls struggle against teams under .500 and on Tuesday night they where beaten easily by the sub-.500 New York Knicks and in their last game against the Philadelphia 76ers the 76ers won easily 117-107. This time none of those Bulls issues came up as they look to lock down an Eastern Conference playoff spot with a 102-90 win over Philadelphia.
There where a couple of ties early in the 1sy quarter before the Bulls where able to take a bit of a lead. Chicago built a five point lead on two occasions , but Philadelphia was able to come back and cut the lead to one point with 5:03 left in the quarter. An 8 to 3 run pushed the Bulls lead to six points, but again the 76ers fought back cutting the lead to two points with 2:34 left in the quarter. Philadelphia didn’t score the rest of the 1st quarter as the Bulls finished on an 8 to 0 run to take a 27-17 lead after one quarter.
The teams traded baskets early in the 2nd quarter, but the Bulls did manage to add four points to their lead and with 8:11 left in the quarter Chicago was ahead 40-26. Philadelphia went on a 17 to 7 run to cut the Bulls lead to four points 47-43 with 2:49 left in the quarter. The Bulls did manage to add a couple of points to their lead before halftime as they went into the locker room with a 53-47 lead.
The Bulls really established their lead in the 3rd quarter. Right from the start the Bulls scored 7 of the first 10 points to push the lead into double digits at 60-50 with 10:27 left in the quarter. Philadelphia was only able to knock the lead under double digits three times in the quarter and the Bulls led at one time by 16 points. At the end of the quarter Chicago added seven points to it’s halftime lead as they took a 13 point lead 80-67 heading into the final quarter.
Philadelphia was never able to get closer than 10 points. With 7:52 left in the game Chicago was ahead 84-74, but the 76ers where never able to get the lead under double digits and even though they did outscored the Bulls in the final quarter (23-22) it didn’t make enough of a difference as Chicago was able to cruise to a 102-90 victory.
Nikola Mirotic led all scorers with 22 points for the Bulls while Jimmy Butler posted a triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Butler assists total was a game high. Jerain Grant scored 15 points while Joffrey Lauvergne added 14 points off the bench. Bobby Portis also came off the Bulls bench to post a double-double with 12 points and a game high 11 rebounds.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was the 76ers leading scorer with 18 points. Justin Anderson added 17 points while Richaun Holmes added 10 points and tied for the team lead in rebounds with 10. Nik Stauskas added 13 points off of the 76ers bench. T.J. McConnell led the 76ers in assists with 8 assists while Dario Saric tied for the team lead in rebounds with 10.
With the win the Bulls improve to 39-40 on the season and they are still holding onto 7th place in the Eastern Conference. Chicago gets a day off before they face the team with the worst record in the NBA; the 19-60 Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon. Philadelphia falls to 28-51 with the loss. The 76ers also get a day off before they host the 40-39 Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night.