Joel Embiid had 20 points and 10 rebounds, JJ Redick scored 23 and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Chicago Bulls 116-96 on Saturday night.
Embiid dominated inside, Redick supplied the outside touch and the 76ers got back to winning after dropping three in a row, even though guard Jimmy Butler missed his second consecutive game because of back tightness. They also bumped their lead over idle Boston for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference to two games.
Embiid had five assists and blocked three shots in his second straight start after missing three in a row. The All-Star center has been dealing with a sore left knee, and the Sixers are managing his workload with the playoffs approaching.
Redick nailed four 3-pointers. Tobias Harris added 16 points. Ben Simmons scored 14, and the 76ers pulled away in the third quarter after grabbing an eight-point halftime lead.
JaKarr Sampson led Chicago with a career-high 29 points. But the Bulls lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Outdueled by fellow MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo in a loss to Milwaukee on Thursday, Embiid scored 14 as the 76ers grabbed a 57-49 halftime lead.
He cut for a thunderous one-handed alley-oop dunk off a feed from Simmons with just over a minute left in the half. A four-point play by Redick got the lead up to 57-47 before Chicago’s Walt Lemon Jr. drove for a layup in the closing seconds.
The Sixers put the Bulls away in the third, outscoring them 29-19.
76ers: Butler, who spent his first six seasons in Chicago, has missed three of the past four games. He was hurt in the Sixers’ win at Minnesota on March 30 when he missed an alley-oop lob from Simmons.
Bulls: G Zach LaVine (right knee tendinitis, bruised right thigh) indicated he will not play again this season, though the Bulls have not officially shut him down. “You have to evaluate the situation you’re in right now,” he said. “I think the risk versus reward of me playing right now is — you don’t want to hurt yourself further with two games left in the season.” LaVine missed his eighth game in a row Saturday. The Bulls host New York on Tuesday and wrap up the season at Philadelphia the following night. Coach Jim Boylen said Chicago has not made “a final decision that I can talk about” on LaVine, G Kris Dunn (strained back) or F Otto Porter Jr. (strained right rotator cuff). … Boylen said F Lauri Markkanen continues to wear a heart monitor and tests have been “unremarkable.” The 7-footer from Finland has started running, shooting and participating in non-contact parts of practice. The Bulls shut down Markkanen for the remainder of the season last week because of a rapid heart rate and fatigue.
76ers: Visit Miami on Tuesday.
Bulls: Host New York on Tuesday.