CHICAGO (AP) — Nikola Mirotic scored 32 points, Justin Holliday added a career-high 29, and the Chicago Bulls closed a disappointing season with a 115-105 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Mirotic hit seven 3-pointers. Holiday made five from long range, matching a personal best. Jimmy Butler added 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
The Bulls wiped out an early 24-point deficit and led by as much as 19 to close out a less-than-golden 50th season on a winning note.
That's little consolation for a team that expected to challenge LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for supremacy in the Eastern Conference. Instead, they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008 at 42-40.
Hollis Thompson added 21 points, Jerami Grant had 20, but the 76ers ended the season on an all-too-familiar note.
They head into the offseason with about $60 million in cap space and up to four first-round draft picks after former general manager Sam Hinkie gutted the team in recent years. He quit last week via a rambling 13-page manifesto to ownership and was replaced by former NBA executive of the year Bryan Colangelo, whose father Jerry also stepped aside as chairman of basketball operations.
With Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol among the top players sitting out, the Bulls looked like they were on their way to a blowout loss in the early going.
They were trailing 42-18 and hearing it from the crowd after Covington nailed a 3-pointer early in the second quarter. But with the Sixers up by 21 late in the half, they turned it around in a big way, going on a 25-1 run that extended into the third.
Chicago scored the final 12 points of the half and 19 in a row overall, including a dunk by Butler that cut it to 60-58. After Nerlens Noel hit a free throw, Holiday and Tony Snell capped the run with 3-pointers that made it 64-61 with just under nine minutes left in the third.
76ers: The 76ers are the sixth team in NBA history to go a full season without winning back-to-back games, according to STATS. The others were the 1947-48 Providence Steamrollers (48 games), 1986-87 Los Angeles Clippers (82 games), 2004-05 Atlanta Hawks (82 games), 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats (66 games) and 2013-14 Milwaukee Bucks (82 games).
Bulls: The Bulls went with eight players.
76ers: Season over.
Bulls: Season over.