Bulls can’t keep up the fast start in their opener against the Sixers
PHILADELPHIA – In a season where the expectations are a bit cloudy, the Bulls let the sunshine in for just a bit to start out their first of 82-games over the next six months.
They were making shots, getting up-and-down the floor. They weren’t playing any defense to speak of, but at least for 12 minutes, Fred Hoiberg’s team got fans fired up with their play on the offensive end.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last.
A 41-point first quarter gave the Bulls the lead early against the Sixers, one of the Eastern Conference front-runners in the 2018-2019 season. But their more seasoned opponent, who are done with their rebuild started earlier in the decade, took care of business after that against a franchise still early in their retooling process. The Bulls would score just 35 points in their next two quarters as Philadelphia pulled away for the 127-108 opening night victory.
Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 30 points with Robert Covington chipping in 20 as the hosts shot 47 percent from the field. Zach LaVine scored 30 points as well with Bobby Portis getting 20 points with Jabari Parker & Antonio Blakeney getting 20 a piece off the bench.
Even with Kris Dunn out of the lineup as he welcomed a new child, the Bulls came out of the gates firing. They shot 63 percent in the first quarter and scored 41 points, a franchise record for the first 12 minutes of the season. Portis, who earned a starting spot in the preseason over Parker, was 5-for-5 with 13 points in the first quarter and finished with 18 in the first half.
But that’s all the Bulls would have as the Sixers took control after that. Philadelphia outscored the Bulls 27-17 in the second quarter then pulled away early in the third quarter thanks to a 17-0 run.
Such a blowout might not be a surprise considering where the Sixers are in their process in becoming a winner, but at least the team in the early rebuilding stages gave their fans a thrill for a quarter of opening night.