Philadelphia News & Search
With over a decade and a half of NBA experience on his resume, Brett Brown knows well the potential pitfalls presented by this particular stage of the season, especially for teams on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
The 76ers’ head coach, however, also knows the make-up of his hard-fighting, prideful group. He expected the club would bounce back with a spirited showing on the heels of a one-sided loss.
Brown was right, but the Sixers wound up on the wrong side of the scoreboard Thursday at The Center, as the Chicago Bulls posted a key 102-90 victory.
With the win, Chicago moved to within a game of .500, and kept its hopes of sneaking into the post-season very much alive. The Bulls entered the evening tied with Miami and Chicago for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Despite falling behind by as many as 14 points in the first half, the Sixers never quite went away, until Nikola Mirotic nailed a pair of timely 3-pointers down the stretch.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot picked up his scoring after the break to pace the Sixers with 18 points. Richaun Holmes was a steady two-way presence, finishing with a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. Justin Anderson got off to a strong start, en route to 17-point effort.
Luwawu-Cabarrot has now combined to score 79 points over his past four appearances.
Mirotic topped Chicago with 22 points, while Jimmy Butler collected his second triple-double of the campaign. The three-time All-Star manufactured 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The Sixers have been asked to withstand considerable losses on the injury front this season, especially in recent weeks. With just under three minutes to go in the third quarter, T.J. McConnell, while trying to avoid a backcourt pick set by Butler, lost his footing, and stayed down on the floor for a moment.
Upon getting to his feet, the gritty point guard appeared to be favoring his left leg. Later in the fourth period, the Sixers announced McConnell had turned his ankle. He was evaluated by the team’s medical staff, and later cleared to return.
McConnell ended up checking back in early in the fourth quarter, and, while doing so, received a nice hand from the home crowd of 15,000-plus. The starting point guard notched nine points, six boards, eight assists, and three steals.
In his limited 21-game stint with the Sixers since being acquired via trade from the Dallas Mavericks, Justin Anderson has certainly shown a knack for attacking the basket in authoritative fashion. On this transition sequence at the outset of Thursday’s third period, Anderson – after hesitating for a moment – turned on the jets, and put his driving prowess on display.
Jams, by Justin pic.twitter.com/k4O87xF19f
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 7, 2017
The Sixers welcome Indiana to The Center Saturday, aiming to avenge a 107-94 setback to the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 26th. On the heels of that victory, Indiana slipped into a most untimely slide, dropping four consecutive games. As a result of the skid, the Pacers, at one point on track to finish in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff pack, find themselves in danger of missing the post-season entirely. Heading into play Thursday, they were tied with Chicago and Miami for the East’s final qualifying playoff spot.
Philadelphia News & Search