In today's newsletter:
- About last night's 126-112 loss to the Bulls.
- Key stats from the game.
- Stray thoughts.
- Quotes and press conference audio.
- Link roundup.
For most teams, the end of an 11-game home winning streak is usually met with a "well, that was a good run!" response from the fan base, an acknowledgment that all winning streaks will eventually come to an end and that any team is capable of having an off night or ten over the course of a long 82-game schedule. All of which is true.
And losing to the Bulls, while playing without Joel Embiid, is certainly nothing to sound the alarms about. After a disappointing start to the season the Bulls have now won seven of their last ten games, clawing their way back to play-in contention despite the absence of Lonzo Ball.
But this team just seems to have a way of finding the most aggravating way possible to end a winning streak, whether it's the inexplicable loss to the Wizards which ended their eight-game overall winning streak back on December 27th, or last night's defensive disaster that ended their 11-game run at the Wells Fargo Center. They've still, when all is said and done, only lost three times over a month of games, but they sure are memorable defeats.
Chicago averaged 134 points per 100 possessions last night, per CleaningTheGlass, which was statistically the Sixers' worst defensive performance of the season. It's somewhat defensible because the Sixers were playing without their defensive anchor in Joel Embiid, as the Sixers give up over seven points per 100 possessions more with Embiid out of the game (115.3) than when he's there (108.2).
Still, the Bulls, despite Zach LaVine's ability to get scorching hot, are a middling offense, ranked just 16th coming into the game, and the Sixers' defensive miscues and miscommunications were somewhat baffling, even in Embiid's absence. LaVine was on fire, for sure, and the Sixers were handicapped by Embiid's absence. But they didn't make the most of their situation either.
Here are some quick thoughts, key stats, and audio from last night's loss.