Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Ty Gaston

Preview: Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia Sixers

Ben Simmons has been sidelined for the first seven games while dealing with personal issues and Joel Embiid missed Monday’s 10-point victory over the Portland Trail Blazers to rest his balky right knee.

While Simmons remains sidelined amid reported rising tensions, Embiid is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday when the 76ers host the Chicago Bulls.

Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris could be out for several more games due to health and safety protocols. Harris was a late scratch against the Trail Blazers.

Yet the Sixers have managed to thrive and will be looking for their fourth consecutive victory when they face the Bulls.

Seven Sixers reached double figures, led by Seth Curry (23 points) and Georges Niang with 21 during the 113-103 victory.

“Yeah, it was great. I was joking with (co-managing partner) Michael Rubin, I said, ‘You only had $105 million not in the game tonight,'” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said, a reference to the sum of team player salaries not available Monday. “So, it was just a good team effort. The guys, we went with some crazy lineups. A lot of small ball.”

The Sixers upgraded behind Embiid with the addition of Andre Drummond. Since Embiid has missed a litany of games through his brief career, they realized the importance of having quality in reserve.

Drummond came through with 14 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

“That’s just this team, despite who is playing or who isn’t playing,” Drummond said. “We all have one common goal and that’s just to win the basketball game and play to the best of our ability and give it all that we have.”

The Bulls will hope to continue their torrid start as they push for their seventh win in eight games to open the season.

The Bulls traveled to Boston and stunned the Celtics 128-114 on Monday. Chicago trailed by 19 late in the third quarter before rallying to prove that the new-look team is for real.

DeMar DeRozan led the way with 37 points, Zach LaVine added 26 and Nikola Vucevic had 11 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

This is exactly what DeRozan envisioned when he joined the Bulls.

“It’s something I wanted to be part of,” DeRozan said. “Everybody willing and wants to win. You see it in the preparation, behind the scenes that nobody gets to see that’s very intense, the time we put in, how much we pay attention to detail. So much that goes on that carries over onto the court.”

Chicago coach Billy Donovan has heaped praise on DeRozan for being the biggest reason for the team’s rise in the standings.

“He’s really smart, experienced,” Donovan said. “He’s a very cerebral, smart player who really understands and has a great feel for the game. He’s just a basketball player, that’s what he really is.”

LaVine has taken advantage of more opportunities on the offensive end since DeRozan’s arrival.

“Definitely fun playing with him,” DeRozan said about LaVine. “He’s an incredible, incredible basketball player, but even more a human being. It’s fun to be out there (with him) and whatever I can do to help to alleviate anything for him and my team, I’m definitely going to do that.”

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