Sixers Tie Bulls For Final Playoff Spot
Philadelphia 89, Chicago 75
CHICAGO, April 8 (Ticker) -- The Philadelphia 76ers have some life left after all.
Allen Iverson scored 39 points and the Sixers took control in the third quarter en route to a critical 89-75 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
"We needed this one badly," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We knew coming in here we were just playing a team that beat us on our home court."
"Anybody who is a competitor know this is what you want, this is what it's all about," Iverson said. "As a competitor this is the kind of situation you live for."
Iverson scored 20 points in the first half to help the Sixers open a 47-37 lead. The superstar scored 13 more in the third quarter that ended with the Sixers holding a commanding 72-49 advantage.
In falling one point shy of reaching 40 for the 15th time this season, Iverson made 12-of-29 shots and all 12 of his free throws.
"I wasn't happy with the effort last night," said Iverson about Friday's 109-99 home loss to Boston. "I knew we had to improve on what we are doing if we want to win. Tonight was just the opposite. We knew we would be shorthanded, it was a total team effort everybody stepped up."
After their strong first half, the Sixers opened the third quarter on a 16-2 surge to take control for good. Iverson made a pair of 3-pointers and scored eight points in the burst that he capped with a jumper at the 7:56 mark for a 63-39 bulge.
The Sixers avenged a 99-92 home loss to the Bulls on Wednesday.
Philadelphia was without forward Chris Webber (back).
Andres Nocioni had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bulls, who shot a woeful 33 percent (28-of-86).
"We pretty much got dominated from start to finish and it wasn't even close, it wasn't close," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "Their bigs took away anything we had at the basket. We missed a lot of open shots."
Chicago was without forward Luol Deng (concussion), who was injured following a collision with Eric Piatkowski in the morning shootaround.
"Things are still in our own hands but we will have to start bringing it every night, especially at home where we have to quit disappointing our home fans," said Bulls guard Ben Gordon, who scored nine points on 3-of-10 shooting.