10 Observations Bulls fall to 76ers lose Patrick Williams to

10 Observations: Bulls fall to 76ers, lose Patrick Williams to ankle injury – NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

PHILADELPHIA — The Chicago Bulls lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 110-97 on Tuesday night at The Center.

Here are 10 observations:

—Tyrese Maxey picked up two fouls in the first 2 minutes, 42 seconds and 76ers coach Nick Nurse played him for another 3 minutes. And why not? Nothing seemed to go wrong for Philadelphia in a dominant first quarter in which they led by as many as 29 points. It is the largest first quarter deficit in the NBA this season. Embiid later joined Maxey with two fouls, but did it matter? The 76ers made 13 of 16 field goals in the first quarter and sank as many three-pointers (seven) as the Bulls made two-pointers. The Bulls missed all 10 3-point shots in the first quarter.

“The way we shoot doesn’t affect the physicality with which we have to play defensively,” coach Billy Donovan said. “They got pretty much everything they wanted. I thought our competitiveness wasn't great at the start of the game. We did it, but we couldn’t shoot at all.”

—The terrible start included coach Billy Donovan making a quick hook on Patrick Williams after he committed a turnover at 8:28, then fouling Kelly Oubre Jr. on the ensuing breakaway. Donovan brought Williams back in for Alex Caruso less than a minute later and said the quick hook after the play wasn't based on the play but rather how Williams moved.

“His ankle was bothering him,” Donovan said.

—In fact, Williams' night got even worse. He left with 4:22 left in the first half and did not return after aggravating a right ankle injury he had been battling for weeks. Williams finished the game with three points, one rebound and one foul in 11 minutes. With the Bulls playing Wednesday and already without Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic and Torrey Craig, depth becomes an issue.

Williams played all 82 games last season and said he would do everything he could to try to play in New York on Wednesday when the Bulls complete their back-to-back set. Late Tuesday they took the bus to New York.

“It felt stiff or sore,” Williams said. “When I feel like that, I often try to play through it and with the adrenaline of the game or as the body gets going, it starts to relax. That wasn’t the case this time.”

—The Bulls missed their first 13 3-point shots and finished 7 of 37 from distance. Williams sank the first three-pointer with 5:30 left in the first half. Coby White's recent struggles continued with an 0-5 night. He has now won 3 of 31 in his last five games. White also went to the locker room after tweaking his right ankle on a drive a minute before the end of the third quarter. He later returned to the bench but did not come back into the game as the game was out of control. Donovan said White could have returned if needed.

—The Bulls also got their first bench points 6:16 minutes into the second quarter on a drive by Ayo Dosunmu. Dosunmu started for Williams in the second half.

—The Bulls trailed by 31 points at halftime. They also had just five assists at halftime and finished the game with 17, just one shy of their season low. They shot 38.5 percent.

“I’m not a big flush game guy,” Donovan said. “I think you can always learn something in every situation. The physicality and tone that we were going for right from the start wasn’t good.”

—Embiid returned from a four-game absence with an ankle injury to record his seventh career triple-double and extend his franchise-record streak of at least 30 points and 10 rebounds to 14 straight games. Embiid finished the game with 31 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists and two blocks in 31 minutes. The Bulls didn't attack Embiid much when he got into foul trouble, even getting his fourth goal early in the third quarter on a tackle on Alex Caruso.

—The only bright spot was 19 offensive rebounds and 19 second-chance points. But the Bulls compensated for this with 18 turnovers, which led to 13 76ers points.

—In the young player development department, Dalen Terry and Julian Phillips got extended minutes in the closing stages. Even though Terry continues to show brilliant performances, especially on defense, and ended up with eight rebounds and seven assists, he needs to improve his shot in order to contribute regularly at this level. He made two 3-point attempts. Phillips went for a layup and sank his first 3-pointer of his career right after the drive. He continues to play aggressively in limited minutes. Adama Sanogo even played and scored his first career NBA points, finishing with eight.

—Back in Chicago, Zach LaVine practiced with G League affiliate Windy City Bulls for the second straight day at the Advocate Center. Donovan said the reports about LaVine were “very, very positive” and that Donovan wouldn't rule out a return as early as Friday's home game against Charlotte.

“I don’t know what the exact date will be, but his progress and the fact that he is in full contact is very positive,” Donovan said. “I don’t know how much data the medical staff would want to see in terms of how many high-play practices he can handle. But he handled everything that came his way really well.”

LaVine has not played since November 28th due to inflammation in his right foot.

“Make sure he's comfortable and not in a rush to get back out there so it doesn't become a permanent injury,” DeMar DeRozan said. “We could have used that extra 20 to 25 to 30 points (Tuesday) night. Provide a further dynamic focus in terms of scoring and playmaking. At the end of the day, it's still Zach LaVine. And the teams have to prepare for that. “When.” We have him on the pitch, there are so many more options we can implement.”

Click here to follow the Bulls Talk Podcast.