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Joel Embiid returned from an 11-day absence to produce a triple-double of 31 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, lifting the host Philadelphia 76ers past the Chicago Bulls 110-97 on Tuesday (Wednesday, January 3, Manila time).
It was the second triple-double this season and the seventh of Embiid’s career. Embiid, who also had two blocked shots, extended his streak of at least 30 points and 10 rebounds to 14 games in a row. This time, he accomplished the feat in three quarters.
Embiid missed all four games of the Sixers’ recent 2-2 road trip with a sprained right ankle.
Tyrese Maxey added 21 points and five assists, Tobias Harris contributed 20 points and eight rebounds and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 16 points.
DeMar DeRozan led the short-handed Bulls with 16 points while Ayo Dosunmu added 15 and Coby White had 14. Andre Drummond had a double-double of 11 points and 17 rebounds.
The Bulls played without key injured players Nikola Vucevic (groin), Zach LaVine (foot) and Torrey Craig (foot). Patrick Williams tweaked his right ankle early in the game and was ruled out at halftime. White also went to the locker room late in the third quarter with an apparent right ankle injury.
The Bulls kept battling despite facing such a big deficit. Reserve Adama Sanogo scored and was fouled with 5:19 left to close the deficit to 110-87. Sanogo missed the free throw for the potential three-point play. The Bulls went on to score the next 10 points but the result was already decided.
The Sixers dominated early, jumping out to a 41-12 lead with 2:34 left in the first quarter.
Philadelphia kept attacking and went ahead 63-36 when Oubre Jr. knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing with 3:33 remaining in the second quarter.
The Bulls missed their first 13 shots from 3-point range before Williams finally connected.
Philadelphia led 73-42 at halftime thanks in large part to 22 points from Embiid.
DeRozan paced the Bulls with 14 points.
Chicago shot just 2-of-19 from 3-point territory in the first half.
Maxey hit a 3-pointer with 4:43 to go in the third to give the Sixers an 88-62 lead.
Philadelphia held a 98-72 advantage at the end of the third.