TRIPLE-DOUBLE NIGHT. Joel Embiid’s triple-double performance fuels the Philadelphia 76ers to a convincing 110-97 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night (Wednesday, January 3, Philippine time). PHILADELPHIA 76ERS PHOTO
In a resounding return to action, Joel Embiid powered the Philadelphia 76ers to a decisive 110-97 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night (Wednesday, January 3, Philippine time), showcasing his prowess with a triple-double.
Embiid’s triumphant comeback from a sprained right ankle ignited the 76ers, who dominated the Bulls from the opening quarter.
Initially hesitant to sport a “Big Energy” chain, Embiid eventually embraced the accessory, reflecting the revival of “The Process” and the Sixers’ winning spirit. With 31 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists, Embiid’s performance underscored his impact on both ends of the court.
Coach Nick Nurse acknowledged Embiid’s exceptional mobility and conditioning, highlighting the significance of the game in aiding his reconditioning process.
The star center had missed the entirety of the 76ers’ holiday road trip, during which they posted a 2-2 record.
The Bulls, previously resilient without injured guard Zach LaVine, struggled to contain the Sixers’ onslaught. Philadelphia sprinted to a commanding 43-18 lead after the first quarter, with the Bulls failing to connect on all 10 attempted 3-pointers.
DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 16 points, but the absence of key players, including Nikola Vucevic, limited their effectiveness. Andre Drummond contributed 11 points and 17 rebounds but garnered attention for a missed dunk that delighted the home crowd.
The Sixers’ recent trend of comfortable wins continued, building on earlier blowout victories. Embiid’s return injected vigor into the team, as they established an early lead and maintained their dominance throughout the game.
Embiid’s franchise records further solidified his status, marking his seventh career triple-double and extending his streaks of 15 consecutive 30-point games and 14 consecutive games with 30 points and 10 rebounds. The star center expressed his desire to play as many games as possible, emphasizing the unforeseeable nature of injuries.
Philadelphia’s efficiency was evident as they made 12 of their first 16 shots and initiated a 7-of-9 shooting spree from beyond the arc. Embiid, with 22 points at halftime, propelled the Sixers to a 73-42 lead, marking the 12th time in franchise history they led by 31-plus points at halftime.
Kelly Oubre Jr., contributing 16 points, acknowledged the impact of Embiid’s return, attributing the smoother performance against the Bulls to “JoJo being back, of course.”
Embiid’s dynamic play included jumps, spins, cuts, and a no-look pass to secure his triple-double. Despite missing recent games, he maintains his league-leading scoring average of 35 points per game.
Bulls coach Billy Donovan recognized the challenge posed by Embiid, emphasizing the need to defend against him collectively. The game highlighted the stark contrast in the Sixers’ performance with and without their star player, reaffirming their status as a formidable force with Embiid leading the charge.