Sixers bulled over by Chicago, now tied with Orlando

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

Chicago 102, Philadelphia 90 – Box Score

The Sixers are decimated by injuries and enduring the mental fatigue of playing out the string of meaningless games to end this season. Throw into that mix a 1-12 showing from behind the arc in the 1st quarter and you have a perfect recipe for a loss, which fortunately is exactly what the franchise needs right now. Philadelphia’s loss Thursday night against Chicago, combined with Orlando defeating Brooklyn, moves the Magic into a tie with the Sixers for the 4th-worst record in the league. Lottery ball chasers, rejoice!

Knowing the result was ultimately for the best didn’t make the game any easier to watch, however. Like leftover soup brought to room temperature, Philadelphia’s initially cold shooting improved to levels that were palatable, but still unsatisfying. The Sixers finished the game 36.3% from the field and 7-33 (21.2%) from three.

It wasn’t pretty basketball from either side, but the other sideline did have a couple standout stars on the night. Nikola Mirotic nearly hit as many threes as the entire Sixers team, going 6-8 from behind the arc for a game-high 22 points. Jimmy Butler quietly controlled the action the entire evening, finishing with a triple-double of 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

For the Sixers, Justin Anderson was just about the only guy in the home whites capable of putting the ball in the basket early on. He scored 14 first-half points, hitting 2 of his first 3 triples; Anderson ended the game with 17 points, and the dunk of the night:

In the third quarter, after the Sixers went 3 and a half minutes without scoring, it was a Richaun Holmes-fueled run that kept the game from getting too out of hand. Holmes had a steal and breakaway dunk to end the scoring drought, showed great activity on the glass, and hit his only three of the evening (1-4) as part of an 8-0 Philadelphia run. Holmes recorded a double-double on the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot led the team with 18 points. We’ve seen his outside shot develop in recent weeks, but it was attacking the paint where TLC shined against Chicago. He got to the line more than any other Sixer (going a perfect 5-5), and a couple very nice finishes around the rim.

As for young players whose careers aren’t looking quite as promising, former Sixers Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams was terrible for the Bulls, shooting 1-7 from the field and committing 4 personal fouls in 10 minutes. His “offensive game” was little more than wildly driving to the hoop and throwing up a shot that more often than not doesn’t even make contact with the rim. It’s hard to see him in the league much longer given his current career trajectory. Still, no need to boo him Sixers fans!

Next up for the Sixers is Milwaukee Saturday night. We’ll see if they can “improve” on their tied for 4th-worst standing.

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