Joel Embiid returns and leads 76ers to road win over Bulls

The Philadelphia 76ers continued the road trip on Saturday when they traveled to the United Center to take on the Chicago Bulls looking to build a win in Toronto. The Sixers managed to pull off a serious win and now they just had to grow through the effort.

The Sixers welcomed Joel Embiid to the roster after missing Friday’s win while recovering from a right knee injury and he led Philadelphia in this one with 25 points and seven rebounds with four assists. Thanks to his contributions, the Sixers were able to earn a 114-109 win over the pesky Bulls.

Tobias Harris added 13 points and five rebounds, Tyrese Maxey had 14 and five rebounds, James Harden had 15 points on 2-for-13 shooting but 11-for-11 from the line, 11 assists and six rebounds, and PJ Tucker had eight and five plates. De’Anthony Melton added 10 points off the bench and Georges Niang had a whopping 15 points.

Here are the player ratings after the win:

The Beard wasn’t very effective with his shot in this one, but the play was impressive. He and Embiid hung on for a few nice plays early on the pick-and-roll offense and the passes he made for Philadelphia’s 3-point shooters were about to give them an open eye. That being said, it would have been helpful for Philadelphia if Harden could have gotten more looks to give up. It would have been useful in a difficult second half for the team. At least he was knocking down free throws.

Maxey was hampered by fouls early on as he committed three fouls in the first half and he was unable to make an impact like he did on Friday but knocked down a triple in the first quarter to contribute. As the Sixers began to falter in the third quarter, Maxey landed some tough shots to keep Philadelphia afloat and give them a chance in this one.

Again, Harris continues to make winning plays. He had a few hustle plays in this one that won’t show up in the box score and he continues to be the ultimate team player. He was also effective with his 3-point shot which is always a big help for this attack. He had a few big buckets before halftime when the Bulls also made a run. Add to that his solid defensive work and it was a good night for the Tennessee veteran despite not having much luck on offense in the second half. He was so effective in this one. He needs to get more shots on offense.

The veteran made an impact early. He freed Maxey for an early 3-pointer, then he stripped Bulls star Nikola Vucevic for a steal, then he made himself available for a layup. Later, he knocked down a corner triple as Philadelphia was able to have success on offense early. He buried a big corner triple late in the first half to stem the tide a bit when Chicago made a big push. However, he committed three offensive fouls in the third quarter that hurt the Sixers’ momentum.

Coming back from a game, the big guy looked like A-OK. He victimized the Bulls in the paint and he made it easy with his pump trick and footwork as Vucevic didn’t have much of a chance against him. He was knocking his sweater down and he did a good job of setting the tone on offense. He gets points for his defensive effort as Vucevic knocked down open triples as the catalyst for Chicago’s offense. He also missed two late critical free throws that nearly cost them, but he more than made up for it by drilling the triple go-ahead.

It’s been an impressive start to the season for Melton. He’s been great defensively, he’s been a reliable option from the outside and he’s been another ball-handling option on the attacking side. He was very good in this one from an individual standpoint.

The Minivan knocked down his first triple to start his night and he moved his feet well defensively. He made a huge triple in the third to give the Sixers a boost heading into the fourth before making as many big hits in the final quarter. His contributions have been huge for Philadelphia in this one.

The veteran made some great plays on defense and he made some commotion plays that were essential. He also had a big play to end the third quarter when he grabbed an offensive rebound and then found Melton for a floater to give the Sixers a cushion before the fourth. He then fired a big load as he was a big key off the bench.

It looks like Thybulle is back in the rotation as he was the first player off the bench in this one. He had a steal in the first quarter and he bothered Chicago star DeMar DeRozan with hard looks. He had some foul issues, but he made a nice cut in the basket for a lay-up on offense.

The SMU veteran got an early run and he provided offense for the bench unit. Milton is a reliable scorer for the Sixers when healthy and right and looking good in his limited minutes to start the season. It was surprising not to see him get more playing time on Saturday.

It initially appeared that House Jr. could have been kicked out of the rotation with coach Doc Rivers going to Thybulle early, but House Jr. had his chance and he contributed to this one. He knocked down a difficult triple where he threw a fake pushup, then sidestepped for an open look. However, it was a tough night defensively for him.