The Sixers earned a 100-89 win over the Bulls Friday night, improving to 27-16 and 20-2 at home. Here are some takeaways from the win.
For the second straight game, Furkan Korkmaz gave the Sixers a major boost.
His main job is to shoot threes and it was surprising that Chicago kept leaving him open. To his credit, he is getting his shot off quicker and it’s difficult to close in on him.
In Wednesday’s 117-106 win over Brooklyn, Korkmaz hit 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. Against the Bulls he hit all four of his attempts in the third quarter alone, helping the Sixers earn a double-digit lead.
And when the Bulls thought all he could do was shoot three’s, Korkmaz drove down the middle of the lane for a dunk in the fourth quarter.
The Bulls main offensive threat is guard Zach LaVine, who entered the game averaging 24.6 points and is a serious All-Star candidate. The Sixers’ best perimeter defender has been Ben Simmons, but rookie Matisse Thybulle -- a top defender in his own right -- earned the opening assignment on LaVine.
Thybulle did a credible job, especially in the first half. Unofficially, LaVine scored just four of his 11 first half points with Thybulle on him. In addition, Thybulle made a block on a drive by former Sixers forward Thaddeus Young.
Thybulle made it difficult for LaVine to get the ball in a good position. Quicker players sometimes are able to drive by the rookie, but he makes his opponent, especially LaVine, work to get shots. When LaVine did score, it was mostly off defensive switches like in the third quarter when Josh Richardson switched on him. LaVine scored a driving layup with his opposite (left) hand. In the fourth quarter, Thybulle forced an errant pass for a turnover on a switch while guarding Tomas Satoransky.
The Brett Brown bashers probably had a field day with this. The Sixers were assessed a technical in the first quarter for having six players on the court.
It came after a Korkmaz hit a corner three. Not only was the three wiped out, but Chicago hit the technical to tie the score.
One reason Chicago held a 47-46 lead at halftime was that the Bulls were getting too many uncontested baskets, mainly uncontested driving dunks.
In the first half the Bulls led the Sixers 18-4 in fast break points. Many times it was a matter of the Sixers not getting back in time on defense.
The Sixers did a better job in the second half, but the Bulls still had several driving dunks.
The Bulls had trouble handling Ben Simmons not only on drives to the basket, but on the glass, too.
A prime example came in the third quarter when Simmons scored on a follow jam. In the fourth quarter, isolated with Chandler Hutchinson on him, Simmons drove around him for the score.
When Simmons wasn’t driving or near the basket, he was constantly finding open teammates.