"Today it was finishing the plays," Sixers guard Tony Wroten said of things his team failed to do in the loss. "Some games it's [getting] the stops, getting rebounds. It's different every game.
"You know, it's frustrating being close in a lot of games and [not] finishing them out. But the way this team is going, I feel like we are going to get one soon."
The Sixers had their chances in this one.
Thaddeus Young's corner three-pointer with 7 minutes, 43 seconds left knotted the score at 85. The Sixers went on to miss their next three shots - all layups. Taking advantage, the Bulls went on a 6-0 run to get a little breathing room.
The Sixers pulled within 93-90 on Wroten's three-pointer with 4:26 left. They had a chance to make it a two-point game with 30.9 seconds remaining. But Wroten missed a layup.
Taj Gibson grabbed the defensive rebound and Jimmy Butler made a pair of foul shots six seconds later to give the Bulls a 100-94 advantage.
"Yeah, it's tough, especially when you are right there to tie or take the lead and you can't close it out," Wroten said. "But, you know, we were right there. We are going to keep fighting and keep pushing away."
Young finished with 24 points in the loss. Wroten made 4 of 6 three-pointers and had 17 points. Reserve point guard D.J. Augustin paced the Bulls (38-30) with 20 points.
Gibson (19 points, 13 rebounds), Joakim Noah (14 points, 10 rebounds), and Carlos Boozer (12 points, 11 rebounds) finished with double-doubles. Noah, a 6-foot-11, 232-pound center, also had six assists, four blocked shots, and a steal.
"He's something special," Sixers coach Brett Brown said of the seven-year veteran. "The whole game I'm talking to [rookie center] Nerlens [Noel] and saying, 'Nerlens, pay attention. There you go. This is an example of all the thing we hope you can get to as quickly as you can.' "
Brown called Noah a warrior.
This loss came to a team that has a building-for-the-future blueprint that the tanking Sixers want to follow.
The Bulls are once again an Eastern Conference powerhouse after rebuilding through the draft.
They used the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft on Noah. The next summer the Bulls selected point guard Derrick Rose (now out with a knee injury) with the first overall pick.
They also drafted Butler (30th overall) in 2011 and key reserves Gibson (26th overall, 2009) and Tony Snell (20th, 2013). Kirk Hinrich, who started in place of Rose, was a Bulls draft pick in 2003.
"That's a physical team of men," said Brown, whose team outshot the Bulls, 45.7 percent to 43.4. "And that's playoff basketball you just saw. That's a really blue-collar, defensive team. And I thought for the most part we did a good job."