Tonight was a game for the ages as the Sixers, led by rookie Michael Carter-Williams, overcame a twenty point deficit to defeat the Chicago Bulls 107-104 for their third straight win to open the season.
The Bulls led for almost the entire game as the Sixers struggled to make defensive stops early on in the game. With the help of Carlos Boozer’s 22 points, the Bulls took a twenty point lead with just under a few minutes left in the third quarter. That’s when the Sixers turned things around and went on an incredible run in the fourth quarter.
Point guard Michael Carter-Williams was once again the star for the Sixers and came out on top of the point guard battle with the Bulls’ Derrick Rose. Carter-Williams recorded his second double-double in three games dropping 26 points to go along with ten assists and four rebounds. It was Carter-Williams who would put the Sixers ahead in the fourth quarter by hustling for a loose ball and finishing the play with an uncontested lay up to give the 76ers a 100-99 lead.
The final three minutes of the game went back and forth with both teams exchanging leads late in the fourth quarter. This Sixers’ defense has been excellent early on in the season during crunch time in the fourth quarter and once again, the defense came through and the offense hit big shots down the stretch. The Sixers went ahead for good with under thirty seconds remaining. Up by one with just six seconds remaining, Carter-Williams earned his tenth assist with an around the back pass to Spencer Hawes, who then hit a jump shot from the top of the key to give the Sixers a crucial three point lead and eventually seal the win the for Sixers.
For the Sixers, Evan Turner continued to show his improved efficiency on the offensive end with a 20 point performance. Going against two of the best perimeter defenders in Loul Deng and Jimmy Butler, Turner went 7-16 from the field to give Carter-Williams help offensively.
In the three games so far this season, Turner has displayed a new array of moves and an improved jump shot, and it looks as though he is finally turning the corner in his career and playing like the number two overall pick that Sixers’ fans expected.
Spencer Hawes was another bright spot for the Sixers tonight. The seven footer took on Bulls’ center Joakim Noah and came away with 18 points on 8-11 shooting. He also collected a team high eleven rebounds. Thaddeus Young added 13 points and seven boards to round out the scoring leaders for the Sixers.
With the win tonight, the 76ers have continued to defy the odds and improved to 3-0 on the young season. The team is off to their best start since the 2006-2007 season and is getting contributions from several key players.
There is still much work to be done for this Sixers team however. Turnovers continue to be a problem for the offense. The Bulls forced fifteen turnovers by the Sixers tonight which led to 23 fast break points. The Sixers need to make a conscious effort to take care of the basketball on offense.
Despite the turnovers and vulnerable defense, the Sixers are 3-0 and on top of the Atlantic Division. The team is playing well and chemistry amongst the players in incredibly high as the team is embracing this underdog image.
Following an off day on Sunday, the 76ers will welcome the Golden State Warriors to the Wells Fargo Center on Monday night. Brett Brown’s Sixers will attempt to move to 4-0 on the season and spoil Andre Iguodala’s homecoming.