Bulls beat 76ers, 117-115
Bulls win six straight
Are they now the un-beat-a-Bulls?
The Bulls Monday won their sixth straight game in a mad rush to the finish after trailing by nine points with under six minutes left.
But with Kris Dunn and Nikola Mirotic making pressure play after pressure play down the stretch, the Bulls marched by the stunned 76ers.
A Dunn deep drive and pass out to Mirotic for a three proved decisive in the end for the victory.
The Bulls were led by Dunn and Mirotic with 22 each and Justin Holiday 20. David Nwaba, Lauri Markkanen and Denzel Valentine had 10 points each. The Bulls had 16 fast break points and 49 points off the bench with Mirotic adding a game high 13 rebounds. Bobby Portis had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bulls are 9-20. The 76ers fell to 14-15.
Markkanen was back after missing three games with back problems and back in the starting lineup along with Denzel Valentine. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said he likes Nwaba with his energy coming off the bench. The 76ers were resting star center Joel Embiid since with his prior injuries he doesn't play back to back and the 76ers are playing Tuesday at home. The Bulls needed that Nwaba mojo after a lackluster start, falling behind 18-10. With Mirotic joining Nwaba in the first substitution, the Bulls ripped off 10 straight points as Dunn was in the middle with 10 first quarter points. Mirotic connected with Portis for a jumper and then had a fancy drop step move for a score and fake and step back for a three as the Bulls led 30-25 after one quarter. The 76ers jumped on the Bulls with a 15-5 start to the second quarter as it seemed the Bulls defense was on holiday. But Justin wasn't as the Bulls guard lined up three consecutive three pointers later in the quarter, the last a four-point play. Holiday added another for first first half threes and 20 points as the Bulls led 67-59. Ben Simmons had 13 points for the 76ers, most on second chance scores. The Bulls shot 54 percent in the first half and were eight of 14 on threes, which the 76ers matched with 50 percent overall shooting. Dunn had a dozen.
The Bulls then looked like they'd pull away with a 13-5 start of the third quarter, Dunn with a three and a Mirotic score after a Dunn steal. The Bulls pushed out to an 80-68 lead when the 76ers found the range and the Bulls reverted to isolation play. The result was a 9-0 76ers run and exchanging leads thereafter as the Bulls went into the fourth quarter ahead 89-87. But the 76ers quickly took advantage errant Bulls passing and isolation play to kick out to a 101-94 lead with 6:48 left. And after Portis flexed on an offense rebound, it seemed to energize Simmons, who stare down Paul Zipser and Portis on ensuing driving scores. The Bulls got several open shots inside but came up empty as the 76ers went through a shooting drought and Philadelphia still led by six with 3:29 left. But the Bulls came surging back with Markkanan and Dunn threes around inspired defensive play from Mirotic to tie the game at 107 with 2:25 left. Mirotic then produced a spinning inside score for a three-point play on a 13-0 run for a 112-107 lead with 1:26 left.
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