The Philadelphia 76ers need every win they can get down the stretch to get the best possible seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs, but they didn’t do themselves any favors on Wednesday night, losing 108-107 to the Bulls in Chicago.
The two teams swapped leads a few times late, with Robin Lopez giving Chicago a one-point advantage after splitting a pair of free throws with under 20 seconds to play, only to see Jimmy Butler get to the foul line for the go-ahead points with under five seconds left. Down one on the final possession, there shouldn’t have been any surprise where the Bulls would go, as Zach LaVine had 37 points on the evening.
For whatever reason, Philadelphia wasn’t on the same page for the final defensive possession, as they allowed LaVine to inbound the ball to Lopez, get it back on a handoff, and turn into the lane with no one covering him, as Butler and Mike Scott both went with Lopez.
LaVine would miss his free throw, falling one point shy of a 40-point night, but still did enough to get the Bulls the win after the Sixers were unable to convert on two inbounds plays with 0.5 seconds left — the clock started early on the first, and they were brought out of the locker room to replay it.
The Bulls’ star finished the game with 39 points, six rebounds, and four assists, and as is typical for LaVine, had some highlight-reel dunks along the way.
The win improves Chicago to 19-47 on the season, but a rather impressive 6-4 in the last 10 as they look to build some momentum into next season. It’s a bad loss for Philly, even being without Joel Embiid, as they fall a game behind Indiana for third in the conference once again after having a chance to draw even with a win.