PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ben Simmons had 19 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists for his fifth triple-double of the season to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 115-101 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.
Dario Saric added 21 points and 10 rebounds and Joel Embiid had 22 points for the 76ers, who have won seven of 10.
Bobby Portis scored 22 points and Zach LaVine had 21 for the Bulls.
Philadelphia played without guards JJ Redick (left leg), T.J. McConnell (personal) and Jerryd Bayless (left wrist), but Simmons picked up the slack.
The rookie was just two assists away from a triple-double in the first half when he helped the 76ers to a 55-41 halftime lead with 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. His slam dunk with 7:40 left in the third quarter was part of a dominating period for Philadelphia.
Embiid’s 3-pointer with 4:23 left in the third stretched the 76ers’ lead to 25 points at 79-54. Embiid, who last week was named an All-Star starter for the Eastern Conference, threw his hands up to get an already excited Philadelphia sports crowd even more revved up.
Philadelphia has had difficulty protecting late leads this season and blew a 15-point second-half advantage in Monday’s 105-101 loss at Memphis, but the 25-point cushion was more than enough for the hot-shooting 76ers.
Philadelphia made 16 3-pointers, finishing 16 for 32.
The Bulls, who began play five games behind the eighth-place 76ers in the East, have been playing better basketball of late. But Chicago still could have been reeling from Monday’s 132-128 double-overtime loss to New Orleans in which the Bulls blew an 18-point fourth-quarter lead.
Chicago did get some good news before the game as Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen were selected by the league’s assistant coaches to the Rising Stars game, which features first- and second-year players and will be played on Feb. 16. Dunn will play on the U.S. team while Markkanen will compete for the World squad.
Embiid, Simmons and Saric will team with Markkanen on the World team in the Rising Stars game.
Bulls: Ryan Arcidiacono, who played college ball at nearby Villanova, received a loud cheer when he entered with 3:13 left in the first quarter. … Dunn (concussion) missed his third straight game.
76ers: Former Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels got a standing ovation when he was introduced in the second quarter. … Former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield and NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris sat a few seats from each other courtside. .. With Philadelphia set to play the Patriots next week in the Super Bowl, the crowd erupted in several E-A-G-L-E-S! chants during the game.
Bulls: Host the Lakers on Friday night.
76ers: Begin four-game road trip at San Antonio Friday night.
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