10 observations: Bulls beat 76ers behind huge games from Coby White, Nikola Vucevic

10 observations: Bulls beat 76ers behind huge games from Coby White, Nikola Vucevic originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

PHILADELPHIA --- The Chicago Bulls defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, who lead the NBA in net rating, with an impressive 108-104 decision Monday night at Wells Fargo Center.

Here are 10 observations:

---Coby White continued his torrid play. While his franchise-record streak of consecutive games with at least three 3-pointers ended at 14 games, White flirted with the first triple-double of his career. He finished with 24 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. He also extended his career-long streak of consecutive 20-point games to six. White’s ninth assist set up Nikola Vucevic for his second 3-pointer of the fourth quarter as Vucevic finished with 23 points. Eight of Vucevic’s points came in the fourth. White and Vucevic also teamed up to thwart Joel Embiid on a late drive with good defense.

---On the injury front, Alex Caruso returned after missing one game and the majority of the other in Miami after re-aggravating his sprained left ankle. Coach Billy Donovan kept Ayo Dosunmu in the starting lineup and brought Caruso off the bench at the 6 minute, 32-second mark of the first quarter. Donovan has talked about the difficulty of having to take Caruso off around the 6-minute mark of the first quarter and then sitting for 12 minutes until roughly the 6-minute mark of the second quarter when he starts games. This is all part of the Bulls’ plan to keep Caruso in the 22-24-minute range, even when he’s not dealing with the lingering effects of an ankle injury. Nevertheless, Caruso logged 31.

"We did a pretty sturdy tape job on it. (Director of Performance Health) Chip (Schaefer) got me right," Caruso said. "I really didn’t think about it too much. That’s a good thing. Didn’t step on anybody. Nobody stepped on me. So, successful game."

As for Torrey Craig, he sat with what Donovan termed “acute heel discomfort.” Donovan said the team will perform further testing on Craig, who left Saturday’s loss to the Heat in the first half with the injury, when they return to Chicago and his discomfort calms.

Caruso promptly spiked Tyrese Maxey’s driving layup off the backboard on one of his first possessions back. He later added a steal and transition layup in the second quarter. He finished with 10 points and four assists.

---Donovan has a habit of rolling the dice when players get into early foul trouble. He did it again and got away with it. Vucevic drew two early fouls trying to contain Embiid by the 8:19 mark of the first. Vucevic played until the 2:27 mark when Andre Drummond replaced him.

---White scored 13 points in the final 4:42 of the first quarter, pushing the Bulls ahead entering the second quarter after they had trailed by 12 early. It’s the 10th time this season that the Bulls have fallen behind by double digits in the first quarter.

---With 40 points, Embiid posted his 12th straight 30-point game, extending his franchise record. Drummond took a charge on Embiid in the first half. But Vucevic drew a technical for a flopping violation when Embiid crashed into him. Vucevic protested to no avail that he merely lost his balance after the contact. Donovan didn’t alter his center minutes rotation against Embiid, even if Drummond could be viewed as a better option.

---DeMar DeRozan didn’t make his first field goal until the 1:37 mark of the second quarter. By that time, he already had four assists and three steals. DeRozan has talked about wanting to serve more as a facilitator early and then becoming more assertive with his scoring late if needed.

---The Bulls led by 11 at half but then started the third quarter slowly as Embiid dominated. But White and Vucevic scored all the points in an 11-2 run that pushed the Bulls back ahead 70-63, forcing a Nick Nurse timeout. Vucevic found success in this run drawing Embiid away from the basket, which also led to driving lanes. White powered down the lane for a dunk over a late contest from Embiid, which White flexed afterward in a show of emotion.

---The Bulls survived a scare when Patrick Williams slipped on a wet spot and stayed down as the first half ended. He walked off the court without a limp but received trainers’ attention, getting placed through on-court tests before he started the second half. That was important since Williams hit two huge 3-pointers in the fourth.

---The 76ers have one of the better benches in the league, but the Bulls’ reserves played well, finishing with a 29-23 scoring advantage. Jevon Carter tied his season-high with four 3-pointers. That said, a critical stretch occurred to open the fourth. With Embiid on the bench, a battle of mostly reserves---starters Tyrese Maxey and White matched up---the 76ers opened with a 20-9 run. Maxey sank three 3-pointers during this stretch.

---When Embiid returned, the Bulls promptly ripped off a 10-0 run, sparked by two 3-pointers from Williams. He was one of six Bulls in double figures as balanced scoring continues to define this run of improved play. Also, Williams sank at least three 3-pointers in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.

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