Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers will look to avoid the upset when they hit the road to take on the struggling Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Monday night.
Streaking Philadelphia (43-21) is in first place in the Eastern Conference, just a half-game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets. Chicago is in 12th place in the conference standings, three games behind 10th- place Washington in the race for the final berth of the quickly approaching play-in tournament.
Philadelphia 76ers at Chicago Bulls
When: Monday, May 3, 2021, at 9 p.m. ET
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
TV: NBC Sports Chicago P, NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: WBBM 780 AM, 97.5 The Fanatic
Embiid to Have His Way
Philadelphia has won four straight after dropping its previous four games. The Sixers got past San Antonio 113-111 on Sunday on Ben Simmons’ last second tip-in. Joel Embiid scored a team-high 34 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, but it was Simmons’ put-back of a missed Embiid jumper that lifted Philly to the win.
“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.”
Seth Curry scored 22 points and Dwight Howard added 14 to help Philly move atop the Eastern Conference standings. Simmons finished with five points, six rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes.
The 76ers average 113.7 points (12th) on 47.6% shooting from the field (ninth) and 37.1% from beyond the arc (13th). Defensively, Philadelphia allows 108.4 points per game (seventh) on 45.4% shooting from the field (fifth) and 36.4% from three-point distance (10th).
Joel Embiid is averaging a team-high 29.3 points and 10.8 rebounds. The versatile big man topped the 30-point plateau for the first time in four games against the Spurs and looks like he could have his way against Chicago’s mediocre big men.
Bulls Missing LaVine
Chicago has lost three straight and four of five and comes into this matchup fresh off a humbling 108-97 road loss against Atlanta on Saturday.
Thaddeus Young led the Bulls with 20 points, and Patrick Williams scored 15 of his 19 in the first half for a team that was without All-Stars Zach LaVine and Nikola 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. When you have guys like that out, and you have to try to make up 40 to 45 points for, that’s difficult.”
The Bulls have dropped 10 of their last 14 games and are now in all-out desperation mode to reach the play-in tournament. Chicago averages 110.9 points per game (21st) on 47.8% shooting from the field (8th) and 36.5% from three-point distance (16th). Defensively, the Bulls allow 112.5 points per game (19th) on 47.5% shooting from the field (25th) and 35.5% from beyond the arc (sixth).
Chicago is clearly missing blossoming guard LaVine and now there’s a rumor circulating that the high-flyer might not return with only eight games remaining. LaVine is on track to miss an 11th consecutive game due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Garrett Temple and Javonte Green have played increased minutes in LaVine’s absence.
Back Philly to Smack Chicago Silly
The 76ers are 5-1 against the spread in their last six road games vs. a team with a losing home record, 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games as a road favorite and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a losing straight-up record.
The Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall and 1-10 ATS in their last 11 home games against a team with a winning road record. The Sixers are 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings against Chicago and will improve on that mark by shooting their shot in the Windy City.
Bet This Pick
Pick: Philadelphia 76ers -5