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Sixers amid comforts of home vs. Bulls

Dec 21, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Montrezl Harrell (5) drives with the ball against Detroit Pistons forward Marvin Bagley III (35) during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Even without Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers proved to be resilient at home.

James Harden led the way with 26 points and eight assists, and Montrezl Harrell added 19 points and four blocked shots while Embiid sat out with left foot soreness in a 129-126 overtime win over Indiana on Wednesday.

The Sixers will now look for their fourth consecutive victory and their 12th in a row at home when they host the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

“I’m blessed man. I’m still here playing this game of basketball,” said Harrell, who shot 8 of 9 from the field. “I had a lot of stuff transpire especially in the beginning of the season. So just to be able to be out here and play this game and still be able to call it my job is a blessing. I don’t take any day for granted.

“It’s a lot of ups, a lot of downs throughout the whole season but I just try to stay ready and kill, make sure I get my work in.”

Dating to Nov. 7, the Sixers are 15-1 over their last 16 home games.

Their depth has been able to overcome key injuries to Harden and Tyrese Maxey.

Seven players reached double figures in scoring against the Pacers to mark a season high. If Embiid is unable to play against the Bulls, that depth will be welcomed starting with Harrell.

“Huge. Huge. With Joel being out, Montrezl was playing well on both ends of the ball,” Harden said. “Even when he came out of the game later, I think it was maybe overtime or something, Doc (Rivers) put him in for P.J. (Tucker), he finished the game extremely well. Just a true vet.”

The Bulls will arrive in Philadelphia following a stirring 121-112 victory that snapped the Brooklyn Nets’ 12-game winning streak.

Patrick Williams and DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points apiece and Nikola Vucevic added 21 points and 13 rebounds. Six players reached double figures in scoring.

“To come out here after those two tough losses and beat one of the hottest teams in the NBA, it’s good,” Chicago’s Zach LaVine said. “I think we came out with the right attention to detail. We withstood their run at the end, and we beat them collectively.”

The Bulls, who were playing without Javonte Green (right knee), lost Alex Caruso with a sprained right ankle late in the first quarter. Both were listed as questionable for Friday’s game.

The Bulls did receive a season-best point total from the ever-improving Williams, who also chased Kevin Durant defensively all night.

“Patrick’s eager to get better,” Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said. “Being around him, he’s searching for ways to improve. Playing against Durant tonight, having to have so much of his focus and trying to, at least, make it difficult on him and to be aggressive offensively, that’s playing both ends of the floor. We need him to play both ends of the floor.”

Williams set the tone early with 12 quick points.

In the end, the Bulls came up with a much-needed win following consecutive losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“That’s why I’m here, to go against the best and test myself against the best,” Williams said.

–Field Level Media