|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0021:00 ET7:00 PM CT0:00 , May 3, 2021
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
76ers look to beat Bulls again
Philadelphia 76ers at Chicago Bulls
- The 76ers have won nine of the last 10 games in this series, after the Bulls won 17 of 19 contests from 2012 to 2017.
- Before defeating the Spurs by two points last night, the 76ers had won their previous three games by a combined total of 97 points. That was the 76ers' largest point differential over a three-game span in team history. As it is, their +99 differential over the last four games is third best in club annals.
- The 76ers have the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA based on the combined won-lost record of their upcoming opponents (.380).
- The Bulls have scored fewer than 100 points in each of their last three games, their longest streak since they failed to reach 100 points in seven straight games in December 2018.
- Joel Embiid had 12 rebounds yesterday after collecting only 21 rebounds in his previous four games, which brought his season average below 11 rebounds per game.
- Thaddeus Young has had four games with nine or more assists this season, including Saturday in Atlanta, after he had only one game with nine or more assists in his first 13 seasons in the NBA.
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The Philadelphia 76ers will aim to defeat Chicago for the seventh straight time when they visit the Bulls on Monday night.
The 76ers recorded two of those triumphs earlier this season and look for the season sweep as they try to bolster their Eastern Conference championship hopes.
Philadelphia (43-21) has won its past four games and holds a half-game lead over the second-place Brooklyn Nets.
The 76ers, whose winning streak against the Bulls started in the 2018-19 season, posted a 113-111 overtime win Sunday over the San Antonio Spurs in the opener of a three-game trip. It also was the first of five games during a seven-day span for the Sixers.
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers will be observing his players closely with just eight games left in the regular season.
"We want to keep guys healthy at the end of the day," Rivers told reporters. "We want to win games. We want to get them the proper amount of rest. We obviously have a plan on what we want to do, and so we'll follow it.
"We're not going to look at the standings or anything like that to decide what we're going to do -- I can say that."
MVP candidate Joel Embiid again will look to torment the Bulls on Monday.
Embiid scored a career-best 50 points when the 76ers recorded a 112-105 home win over the Bulls on Feb. 19. He made 17-of-26 field-goal attempts and had 17 rebounds, five assists, four blocked shots and two steals.
The star center missed Philadelphia's 127-105 road trouncing of Chicago on March 11 due to COVID-19 contact tracing.
Embiid contributed 34 points and 12 rebounds in the victory over San Antonio on Sunday. His shot at the end of overtime bounced off the rim, but Ben Simmons tipped it in as time expired.
"I knew Joel was going to get a good look," Simmons said. "We trust him with those shots. I was just there to clean it up."
The Bulls (26-38) have lost three straight games and four of their past five and rapidly are sliding out of the playoff race in the East.
Chicago is three games behind the Washington Wizards for the final play-in spot in the conference.
The Bulls have badly missed All-Star guard Zach LaVine, who has sat out the past 10 games due to health and safety protocols. LaVine, who ranks sixth in the NBA with a 27.5 scoring average, is listed as doubtful for Monday's game.
Big man Nikola Vucevic (adductor) missed Saturday's 108-97 road loss to the Atlanta Hawks and is listed as questionable.
Veteran forward Thaddeus Young scored 20 points against the Hawks and said it is hard to make up for the absences of talents such as LaVine and Vucevic.
"I think the challenge is sustainability," Young said. "It's hard to sustain without your two best scorers in the lineup. That's a total of almost 50 points between the two of them. ... That has to come from somewhere, and we have to do it as a collective group. That's the hardest part."
Despite the Bulls being 12 games below .500, coach Billy Donovan said there is no thought of looking to the future and resting veterans in hopes of getting a better draft selection.
"I haven't had any conversations like that," Donovan said. "Our focus is on Philly. We have not had any discussions along those lines at all."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 3, 2021