By Nick Michaels
Ben Simmons scored a career-high 32 points, making two free throws with 5.6 seconds, and the Sixers, down five points in the final minute, and beat the Chicago Bulls 116-115.
“Stepping up to the line, I knew I was going to knock `em down. You have to have that mentality,” he said.
Joel Embiid had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Simmons added 11 assists and seven rebounds as Philly won its sixth straight and snapped a four-game road losing streak.
Bobby Portis had a career-high 38 points and Zach LaVine added 23 for the Bulls, who were 18 for 34 on 3-pointers.
Chicago had a 115-114 lead and the ball with 8 seconds to go before Embiid deflected an inbounds pass to create a turnover. Simmons came up with the ball near halfcourt and was fouled by Denzel Valentine. He made both free throws.
“First of all, we needed a steal,” Simmons said. “I saw Joel get it and he kind of lobbed it to me.”
Portis had a chance for a game winner, but his short attempt — with Embiid closing from the weak side — just missed.
The 76ers raced to a 25-7 lead midway through the first quarter before Portis got hot and Chicago started making 3s.
The lead was down to 33-29 at the end of the quarter and the Bulls busted out for 40 points in the second to take a 69-67 halftime lead. Chicago was 9 of 12 on 3-pointers in the quarter, including 4 for 5 by Portis.
The 76ers were up by five early in the fourth before Portis scored six straight points — on a 3-pointer and a three-point play — to put the Bulls on top 101-100. A few minutes later, Portis dunked over Embiid to stretch the lead to 111-106 with just over four minutes to play.
LaVine hit a 3-pointer to make it 115-110 with 1:02 left.
“We stole that win,” Embiid said. “We didn’t play well. Offensively, I thought, we were moving the ball when we needed, but defensively I thought we sucked.”
Embiid has nine straight double-doubles. … Simmons has six triple-doubles this season, which ties him with Wilt Chamberlain (three times) and Billy Cunningham for most in a season in team history.