Zach LaVine scored 26 points, DeMar DeRozan had 25 and the Chicago Bulls defeated Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers 109-105 in double overtime Monday night to snap their eight-game winning streak.
Nikola Vucevic added 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls, who have won three matches in a row and five of six. Chicago is jostling for the final playoff spot in the East.
“We have a bigger goal in mind,” DeRozan said. “We’re fighting for our life every game. We’re just playing with that desperation right now.”
Embiid had 37 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks before fouling out with 3:54 left in the second overtime. It was the 10th consecutive game in which he has scored at least 30 points.
“Tonight could’ve been better,” Embiid said. “Move on and learn from it.”
The teams meet again in the second game of a home-and-home on Wednesday night in Chicago.
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Philadelphia could’ve clinched a playoff spot with a victory, but the 76ers struggled once Embiid left the court after a foul on LaVine.
“We couldn’t get anything going offensively really the whole game,” Embiid said.
Tyrese Maxey hit an elbow jumper and Tobias Harris followed with a baseline jumper to put the 76ers ahead 105-101 with 2:36 left in the second OT. But those were the last points Philadelphia scored, with Embiid only able to watch from the bench.
Maxey, who concluded with 17 points, air-balled a pair of 3-point attempts and misfired on a drive. The 76ers still were down by just two late, but Derrick Jones Jr. blocked James Harden’s jumper and Harris missed on a chance. Coby White got the rebound and made two free throws with six seconds to play to clinch it.
“Our D kind of kept us in it,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said.
The 76ers had an opportunity to win in regulation, but Maxey’s 3 at the buzzer was off the mark.
Chicago could’ve ended it after the first overtime, but DeRozan’s 3 at the buzzer went off the heel of the rim.
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