Sixers Beat Bulls: Joel Embiid Stays Perfect, James Harden Ties Legend

Joel Embiid Sixers

Getty Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid celebrates during a game against the Chicago Bulls.

It didn’t take the Philadelphia 76ers long to put a dismal shooting night in Miami in the rear-view mirror. The Sixers came out firing versus the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. Joel Embiid dropped 43 points and James Harden moved his name up the record books in a 121-106 victory.

Embiid — 11-0 for his career vs. Chicago — was serenaded by MVP chants at Wells Fargo Center and showed why he’s a front-runner for the award. More importantly, Embiid was able to rest for longer stretches as Doc Rivers threw in newcomer DeAndre Jordan. The former Lakers big man logged 11 meaningful minutes off the bench in his Sixers debut.

Harden came into the contest needing only two 3-pointers to move ahead of Reggie Miller for third on the all-time list. He hit one early in the first quarter to tie him. That was it. The Beard had 16 points and went 1-for-5 from deep to give him 2,560 career triples. He now trails Ray Allen (2,973) and Steph Curry (3,101). Harden also inched by Paul Pierce on the all-time list for free throws made.

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What Went Right for Philadelphia 76ers

1. Joel Embiid for MVP: The MVP race has really tightened up in recent weeks between Embiid and Nikola Jokic. The Joker has been stacking triple-doubles at will. On Monday, Embiid put the Sixers on his back with Harden struggling from the field and Tyrese Maxey missing shots early. He scored 43 points and grabbed 14 boards in 36 minutes while putting on a defensive clinic. Tristan Thompson nearly fouled out trying to hold his jockstrap.

2. Sixth Man of the Year: Georges Niang doesn’t get talked about enough. The 6-foot-7 forward has been lights out since James Harden’s arrival, racking up corner threes and long-range jumpers that were supposed to go to Tobias Harris. He’s never afraid to pull the trigger. Niang hit four 3-pointers against Chicago on his way to 14 points. He also wowed with some beautiful no-look passes that surely made Harden smile. Niang could start on a lot of other teams.

3. Matisse Thybulle’s Stat: Here’s a fun stat courtesy of Harrison Grimm: the Sixers are undefeated in games where Matisse Thybulle scores 10 points. He got there in the third quarter which started a mass exodus for the parking lots. Kidding. Most of the crowd stayed until the end so they could sing the “freaking song.” Thybulle’s thunderous dunk with 1:51 left in the fourth sealed the deal. He had 12 points.

4. Furkan Korkmaz Benched: The Turkish sensation has been struggling mightily in recent games. He’s been turning it over, chucking up air balls, and – let’s be honest – he just looks lost on both ends of the floor. Doc Rivers likes to let shooters shoot out of slumps. Not on Monday. Korkmaz saw zero minutes, with that extra burn going to Isaiah Joe and Shake Milton.

5. Danny Green Injured: It’s been a tough year for the three-time world champion. Green was fighting through calf and hamstring injuries to start the season and never looked like himself. He left Monday night’s game with a finger laceration and never returned. Stay tuned.

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