76ers rest starters ahead of playoffs, beat Bulls 125-109

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 11, 2019 10:28 AM
76ers rest starters ahead of playoffs, beat Bulls 125-109
Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, center left, of Australia, watches the remaining minute with his teammates on the sideline during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Philadelphia. 76ers won 125-109. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

By Aaron Bracy, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jonathon Simmons scored 20 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 125-109 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) in the regular-season finale for both teams.

In preparation for the playoffs, the 76ers rested all five starters, and star center Joel Embiid's status for the opener is in question.

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Philadelphia, the No. 3 seed, will host sixth-seeded Brooklyn in the first round. Embiid's achy left knee may prevent the All-Star from playing in the playoff opener.

General manager Elton Brand said Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) that Embiid was expected to play in the postseason, but added it was "possible" the seven-foot center wouldn't be ready for the first game. Embiid sat on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) for the fifth time in seven games.

Embiid is averaging 27.5 points and 13.6 rebounds, but has missed 14 games since the All-Star break due to rest and injury.

Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris also didn't play against the Bulls, and the lack of on-court time together for Philadelphia's heralded starting five is an admitted concern of coach Brett Brown heading into the postseason. The quintet has appeared together in just 10 games since Brand put in place the final piece of the starting puzzle by acquiring Harris at the trade deadline.

Brand didn't dismiss the notion that it would've been helpful for the group to play more together, but he didn't entirely embrace it either.

"Star players win in the playoffs and that's what we're built for," Brand said before Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) game. "I like our chances against any team."

After being eliminated in the second round last season, the general manager would consider anything short of advancing past the second round this year as an unsuccessful season.

"We want to make a deep playoff run," Brand said. "We didn't have the weapons (last year) we have this year."

Meantime, Bulls coach Jim Boylen is looking forward to a full training camp. It has been a tumultuous rebuilding season for the Bulls, with Boylen taking over for fired Fred Hoiberg in December only to face a reported player mutiny shortly after his hire.

Boylen isn't concerned about his reputation.

"Everywhere I've been, I've had great relationships with players," Boylen said.

Walt Lemon Jr. scored 20 points to lead the Bulls.

TIP-INS

Chicago: The Bulls were without Denzel Valentine, Wendell Carter Jr., Chandler Hutchison, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr. and Kris Dunn. . Chicago set a franchise mark for its worst home record at 9-32, culminating with Tuesday's (Wednesday, PHL time) 96-86 loss to the Knicks.

Philadelphia: Brown said the 76ers will go "8.5" players deep in the playoffs. . The 76ers promoted Lindsey Harding from scout to player development coach. . James Ennis III, who is expected to be a contributor off the bench in the postseason, also was out Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) with a right quad contusion. . The 76ers split four games against both the Nets and Orlando Magic this season. . Philadelphia finished 31-10 at home.

UP NEXT

Chicago: End of regular season.

Philadelphia: Host Brooklyn in first round of playoffs.

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