DeMar DeRozan on Monday scored 25 points as the Chicago Bulls snapped the Philadelphia 76ers’ eight-game winning streak with a thrilling 109-105 victory in double overtime.
The red-hot Sixers had been looking to clinch their playoff ticket with victory in front of an expectant home crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.
Yet despite a 37-point performance from Joel Embiid — the Most Valuable Player front-runner’s 10th straight 30-point game — Philadelphia were left waiting to reach the post-season after a gritty road win from Chicago.
Embiid missed an attempted tip-in after Tyrese Maxey’s attempted three-pointer at the end of regulation which would have snatched victory for the Sixers.
Embiid put Philadelphia 99-97 ahead in the final minute of the first period of overtime, but DeRozan leveled with a driving layup. The Chicago star missed an attempted three-pointer with less than 2 seconds on the clock, to take the game to a second period of overtime.
The Sixers looked to have taken a grip on the contest after opening up a 105-101 lead in the second overtime period, but with Embiid absent after fouling out, the Bulls reeled off eight unanswered points to close out the win.
Photo: Brad Penner-USA Today
It was the first time in 12 career meetings against Chicago that Embiid has finished on the losing side.
DeRozan said that he was aware of that statistic prior to the game.
“I knew that,” DeRozan told reporters. “It was only a matter of time. Not saying that was part of the motivation. We’ve got a bigger goal than just trying to beat him, but I’m glad we got the win.”
Chicago improved to 34-37 and remain in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings, leaving them on course for a place in the play-in tournament for teams ranked between seventh and 10th, which determine the last two spots in the eight-team conference playoffs.
Philadelphia, third in the East with a 48-23 record, remain one win away from formally clinching their playoff spot.
In other NBA games on Monday, Julius Randle erupted for 57 points in a scintillating performance, but it was not enough to stop the New York Knicks falling 140-134 at home to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Randle’s masterpiece included eight three-pointers from 19-of-29 shooting, while Jalen Brunson added 23 points. Three other Knicks players finished in double figures.
However Minnesota’s balanced offense was enough to give the Wolves victory, with Taurean Prince leading the visitors scoring with 35 points.
All of Minnesota’s starters posted double-digit points totals, while Naz Reid (12) and Jaylen Nowell (14) combined for 26 off the bench.
In Utah, the high-flying Sacramento Kings, who remain third in the Western Conference, came unstuck in a 128-124 loss to the Jazz, who are 11th in the standings.
Ochai Agbaji led the Utah scoring with 27 points, with no fewer than eight Jazz players making double figures. De’Aaron Fox led the Sacramento scoring with 37 points.
In Houston, the Golden State Warriors finally snapped their miserable losing streak on the road with a 121-108 defeat of the Rockets. The NBA champions had gone into the game on the back of 11 straight defeats away from home.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 59 points, including 10 three-pointers, but the Warriors still made hard work of the win, coughing up 20 turnovers, 14 of them in the first half.
In Memphis, the Grizzlies staged a late fourth quarter rally to down the Dallas Mavericks 112-108. Memphis outscored the Mavs 29-12 in the fourth to seal their victory.
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