The Philadelphia 76ers will close out their regular season when they host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.
The Sixers, who are locked into the No. 3 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, fell 122-99 Tuesday night on the road against the Miami Heat.
Philadelphia rested All-Star center Joel Embiid and shooting guard JJ Redick in the 23-point loss to the Heat as a way of preserving them for the playoffs. Despite the loss, the Sixers will have won at least 50 regular-season games in back-to-back years.
The game was significant to the Heat since it was the final appearance for Dwyane Wade, who scored 30 points to complete a historic 16-year career with three championships.
In the finale against the Bulls, Sixers head coach Brett Brown intimated that Embiid, Redick, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris would all be held out for precautionary reasons.
"You can sort of see the method to the madness," Brown told reporters. "Everybody's different."
The Sixers' new-look lineup has only played a handful of games together with injuries hampering Embiid, Redick and Jimmy Butler. Clearly, one meaningless game against the Bulls doesn't matter as much as the upcoming playoffs.
The Sixers won one round against the Heat before falling to the Boston Celtics in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.
"Like you wish there was more opportunities," Brown told reporters of having a consistent lineup. "But for the reasons that we all know, there just wasn't. So life moves on. As I said, nobody is crying about it."
Reserve center Greg Monroe led the Sixers with 18 points against the Heat while Simmons added 16.
The Bulls fell 96-86 to the visiting New York Knicks to close a disappointing 9-32 season at home. It marked the worst home mark in the history of the Bulls' franchise.
Ryan Arcidiacono paced the Bulls with 14 points, but it wasn't near enough offense to guide them to a win.
"We got the talent," guard Kris Dunn told the Chicago Tribune despite not playing since late March. "It's about having the chemistry, playing together, being in sync at both sides of the floor and bringing it each game.
"I think it was a little bit of everything this year -- injuries, trades, coaching change, system changing. We all individually had our moments. But in the sense of the core, we really didn't have a chance to play all together. When we did, there was no rhythm to it, no flow."
The Bulls limped to the end of the regular season and will have a chance to earn their 23rd win against the Sixers.
Winning only nine games at home all season was a tough reminder of how low the franchise has sunk.
"I feel for the fans and I'm disappointed for the fans that we didn't play better at home," Bulls head coach Jim Boylen said. "And we have to fix that. We're going to talk to the team about it. We've got to honor our homecourt better next year."
--Field Level Media
Sixers will rest stars in finale vs. Bulls
More TOP STORIES News