76ers Pick up Back to Back Wins at Home After Taking Down Chicago
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- After going through a tough stretch away from home, the Philadelphia 76ers finally feel relieved to be back in action in front of their home fans. Although the South Philly crowd has been a bit hostile towards its team, the Sixers continue to prove that they can be a real threat in the Eastern Conference.
Friday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies was a nice confidence booster as the Sixers prevented five-straight losses by taking down a young Memphis team by 12 points. With the Chicago Bulls in town on Sunday, the 76ers had the opportunity to form a small winning streak a few days before their All-Star break.
The Sixers jumped off to the right start right out of the gate. With 38 points in the first quarter, the team was led by none other than their budding bench star, Furkan Korkmaz. After breaking his own personal scoring record just two nights back, Korkmaz never cooled down as he went six for seven from the field, totaling for 17 points in his first seven minutes on the court.
The Sixers' first-half performance was up and down, as they led Chicago by 15 at a point. Once they went into the half, though, Philly didn't have much of a cushion as the Bulls only trailed by five. And quickly in the second half, Chicago even took over, which caused the Sixers to garner some boos from the crowd.
Despite Chicago being the inferior team, their starting center Luke Kornet and star guard Zach LaVine, gave Philly's defense a hard time as they combined for 57 of the Bulls' 111 points. Fortunately for Philly, their offense stepped up even more and got their stuff together in the second half.
Korkmaz's hot streak continued as he finished with 31 points. And the new Sixer reserve Glenn Robinson had himself a notable debut as he picked up ten points in 12 minutes. Meanwhile, Embiid ended up wrapping the game up with 28 points, picking up the slack from the starting lineup as Shake Milton, Al Horford, and Tobias Harris failed to contribute more than 19 points altogether.
On Tuesday, the Sixers will return to the court for one final time before heading into the All-Star break. They will host their playoff enemy, Kawhi Leonard, and the Los Angeles Clippers for the first time this year. While Leonard no longer plays for the Raptors, the Sixers could use the bad memory as bulletin board material to help them pick up a win over the other Los Angeles team. A victory like that could really boost the Sixers' confidence before getting some time off and returning to the court.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_