Bulls Start Fast, Pound 76ers
Chicago 117, Philadelphia 84
CHICAGO, Feb. 16 (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon and the Chicago Bulls played with passion and energy that the Philadelphia 76ers were unable to muster for a second straight night.
Gordon scored 21 points to lead six players in double figures as the Bulls rolled to a 117-84 victory over the 76ers.
"We were able to pick up a full game on the team right in front of us," said Bulls coach Scott Skiles, whose team trails the 76ers by two games for the eighth playoff spot. "I think it is important that the guys go home with a good game under their belt. Maybe we will have a little momentum coming out of the break."
Meanwhile, Philadelphia rallied for an improbable victory against San Antonio on Wednesday but failed to bring the same intensity in this one.
"They knew we played an overtime game last night," 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "They came out pushing the ball and running the floor to keep us on our heels. That game was embarrassing for me and it was embarrassing for the players. It was an embarrassing loss."
The Bulls quickly jumped on the fatigued Sixers, scoring a season-high 38 points in the first quarter behind 12 points and five assists from Gordon, who made 4-of-5 shots in the period.
"They had an overtime game last night and we sitting here waiting for them," Skiles said. "We played pretty well, but we didn't get Philly's best shot. We will see that next week when we play them again."
Philadelphia switched to a zone defense midway through the second quarter, but Chicago promptly took advantage by finding Andres Nocioni for a 3-pointer to extend the cushion to 53-31.
The Sixers got within 59-50 on Chris Webber's jumper just over a minute into the third quarter. However, Chicago closed the quarter on a 37-12 run to enter the final period with a commanding 92-62 lead.
"We talked at halftime that we have had letdowns in the third quarter," said Bulls center Tyson Chandler, who grabbed 11 rebounds to help Chicago to a 53-30 advantage on the boards. "So our emphasis in the third quarter was just to come out and push the lead."
Gordon ignited the decisive burst with a jumper, added a layup one minute later and a three-point play shortly thereafter to push the advantage to 73-50 with 7:35 remaining in the third.
Averaging 24.3 points over the last seven games, Gordon believes that he can maintain the torrid pace.
"I can definitely do it, it's just a matter of growing into the role," he said. "That can be my role if it doesn't disrupt the team, everybody will have to accept it and I will have to mature more as a player."
Kirk Hinrich scored 15 of his 18 points in the third quarter and Gordon added nine to help the Bulls outscore the Sixers, 35-16, in the session.
"If we keep playing with that kind of effort, we will get victories," Gordon said. "It wasn't a matter of if they were tired, we just played real well tonight."
Nocioni scored 16 points and Malik Allen added a season-high 16 for Chicago, which led by as many as 35 points and never trailed.
"I hope I can keep going on my roll," Allen said. "Hopefully my role with the team will continue, and it's nice to let them know they can count on me."
After scoring 43 points against the Spurs, Allen Iverson managed just 18 on 6-of-16 shooting. Webber added 14 on 5-of-14 shooting for the Sixers, who shot just 34 percent (26-of-76) and missed all nine of their 3-pointers.
"If I had an explanation, I would give it," Iverson said. "We just got whipped from beginning to end tonight. During the season, you will have games like this."