It was a good night for Ben Simmons.
The point guard dropped the 27th regular season triple-double of his career, raised a heap of money during the Philadelphia 76ers’ Australian Heritage Night, and continued the impressive free throw shooting form he’s exhibited over the past few weeks.
Simmons had 19 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for the 76ers, who defeated the Chicago Bulls 118-111 on Monday (AEDT), improving their NBA-best home record to 24-2.
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Furkan Korkmaz scored 31 points to lead the home team, while Joel Embiid had 28 points and 12 rebounds.
Korkmaz stayed hot after netting a career-high 34 points in Friday’s 119-107 home win over Memphis. He made 12-of-17 field goals, going 6-of-11 on 3-pointers.
Zach LaVine scored 32 points and Luke Kornet added 25 for the shorthanded Bulls, who have lost five straight.
Simmons was 7-of-10 from the free throw line in this one, and is 59-of-79 (75 percent) over his past 10 contests.
He’s getting to the line more than ever, and converting from the charity stripe at an impressive rate.
Embiid put Philadelphia ahead for good early in the fourth, breaking a tie to start the period with a short jumper and follow dunk that made it 87-83 with 11 minutes left. The 76ers kept the lead the rest of the way – although it wasn’t exactly easy against the plucky and undermanned Bulls.
Chicago got within two points twice, but the 76ers finally got some breathing room on Tobias Harris’ 3 that made it 104-95 with 6:22 to play. Korkmaz put it away with a two-possession sequence where he hit a 3-pointer and followed with a one-handed dunk that pushed him over 30 points for the second straight contest and made it 111-101 with 3:57 left.
Glenn Robinson III, acquired at the trade deadline from Golden State along with Alec Burks for three second-round picks, helped out in the fourth with six points in his first appearance with the 76ers. He finished with 10 points. Burks didn’t play.
Chicago started the third quarter on a 10-2 run, erasing Philadelphia’s five- point halftime advantage and taking a 65-62 lead on Kornet’s dunk early in the period. Philadelphia slowly regained the lead, but LaVine hit three 3-pointers during an 11-2 run that gave Chicago a 79-76 lead with 3:22 left in the third.
The teams settled for an 83-all tie entering the fourth.
The 76ers led by as many as 15 points in the first half and looked like they’d make easy work of the Bulls, but Chicago clawed within 60-55 at the break. Korkmaz had 17 points in eight first-quarter minutes to help the 76ers take a 38-25 lead. Korkmaz made 6 of 7 shots, including 4 of 5 3-pointers, in the opening period.
Chicago has a long list of injured players: Lauri Markkanen (right hip) missed his eighth straight; Otto Porter Jr. (broken left foot) has been out since Nov. 6; Wendell Carter (sprained right ankle) has sat for 17 in a row; Kris Dunn (sprained right knee) missed his third consecutive game; and Denzel Valentine (strained hamstring) and Daniel Gafford (ankle) sat for the second straight game.