Sixers aim to ride home-court momentum vs. Bulls

The Philadelphia 76ers will be searching for their 24th victory in 26 home games when they host the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

The Sixers’ current 23-2 home record is the best in the league.

Following a four-game road losing streak which dropped them to 9-19 away from home, the Sixers responded to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 119-107 on Friday. Furkan Korkmaz exploded for a career-best 34 points and Ben Simmons added 22 points and 10 assists.

Joel Embiid did post his 29th double with 10 points and 10 rebounds but left before halftime with stiffness in his neck.

Despite their road struggles, the Sixers continue to shine on their home court.

“It sure seems to help. We do love playing at home,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. “We’ve always got great memories coming back here and we are sort of used to winning at home. We love playing in front of our crowd and we feel a responsibility to perform in front of that crowd. Just after our losing on the road, it does feel good to come back and win.”

Philadelphia lost all four games on its most recent trip by 10 or more points and the team hardly looked like a championship contender. But coming home always seems to help, and the Sixers look to continue their positive home momentum against the Bulls.

“I think we just want to get our spirit up and get our morale up as a team,” said Tobias Harris, who scored 21 points against the Grizzlies. “We want to figure out, going into the break, kind of having the confidence and being ready to come back and put things together and make a really good run.”

The Bulls fell 125-119 at home to the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.

Zach LaVine scored 22 points and Chandler Hutchison added 16 points and eight rebounds. In a bizarre scene, Adam Mokoka had 15 points for his first career points as the crowd chanted “MVP!” for the rookie from Paris.

LaVine seemed irked after the loss.

“You know, the game was over in my book,” LaVine told reporters. “I don’t know what we were cheering for. I’m happy for Adam, but that game was over. We lost.”

The Bulls continue to play short-handed while dealing with a bevy of injuries.

Lauri Markkanen is expected to be out for an eighth straight game with a right hip injury. Otto Porter Jr. (broken foot) and Wendell Carter Jr. (sprained right ankle) are also going to miss this game.

In addition, three more players sat out against the Pelicans — Kris Dunn (right knee), Denzel Valentine (hamstring) and Daniel Gafford (ankle). Their availability wasn’t immediately known for the game against Philadelphia.

Dunn’s absence has had a major impact.

“The effect of Kris Dunn not being on the floor for us is on multiple levels,” Bulls head coach Jim Boylen said. “He sat in the chair over there during practice. … He was shouting out stuff and coaching guys and helping guys. He has embraced that part of it, and it’s powerful for us. We miss it on the floor.”

–Field Level Media

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