The Bulls Friday finished their two-week road trip with a 105-89 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
The win gave the Bulls a 4-2 record on the trip and 10-6 overall for the season. The Bulls have played an Eastern Conference most 11 road games and are 6-5 on the road. The 76ers are 4-12.
The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade each with 26 points. Taj Gibson had 12 points, Robin Lopez 10 and Rajon Rondo six points, with teams highs of eight rebounds and 12 assists. Lopez and Rondo were crucial on defense with team highs in plus/minus rating, both more than plus-25. Butler had his 10th consecutive game of at least 20 points.
The Bulls disclosed before the game that Michael Carter-Williams also has a bone chip in his wrist and while he remains on the four-to-six-week time table from his original knee injury, he’s likely out at least two more weeks. Doug McDermott also remained out with his second concussion. The hope is he might be ready next week. The Bulls play their next game at home Wednesday against the Lakers. That gives the Bulls four days off to recover from the long road trip and the first game back in the United Center in 18 days.
So the Bulls started like they wanted to close the trip with a flourish with eight straight points and an 11-2 start. The Bulls got eight first quarter points from Butler and a pair of threes from Isaiah Canaan off the bench after his missed three to close the game in Denver. That gave the Bulls a 23-19 lead after one quarter and then seven more from Butler in the second quarter. Though he had just four points in the first half, Rondo played brilliantly with eight rebounds and six assists and a plus-20 plus/minus rating, the most among the Bulls players in the first half. Rondo’s defense was excellent as he drew a change, should have earned another and constantly fought over screens to help hold the 76ers starting backcourt to three of 11 first half shooting. The Bulls led 57-47 at halftime after leading by 15 with 4:38 in the half. Bobby Portis had a good half with six points and four rebounds.
The Bulls broke open the game with a 33-17 third quarter as Butler added another 11 points with three assists and Rondo ran the offense with four assists. Gibson operating inside began the third with a 10-5 run. Then it was Butler pounding his way to the basket in a 10-0 run midway through the quarter and a strong finish from the reserves with Denzel Valentine and Nikola Mirotic threes for a 90-64 Bulls lead after three quarters. Wade then took over to take away any 76ers’ belief in a comeback with the Bulls first 11 points of the fourth quarter for a 101-73 Bulls lead and the benches for both teams came on to get some playing time.