Published May 05, 2012
| Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA – Another lopsided quarter has the 76ers in control of their first-round playoff series.
Another injury to a Bulls starter has the NBA's No. 1 overall seed facing an unlikely deficit.
Spencer Hawes scored 21 points and the Sixers finished with a big run Friday night to beat the Bulls, 79-74, in Game 3.
The Sixers closed with a 23-5 burst to take a 2-1 lead in the series with Game 4 set for Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia.
They got 17 points from Jrue Holiday, 16 from Evan Turner and 14 off the bench from Lou Williams, but Hawes was the star.
The 7-foot-1 center gave Philadelphia the lead for good with the biggest shot of the game-ending run: a long jumper just inside the three-point line on the left side with 2:11 remaining.
"We had some tremendous performances tonight," said Sixers coach Doug Collins. "I'm really proud of Spencer."
Bulls center Joakim Noah rolled his left ankle badly in the third quarter when he stepped on the foot of Sixers forward Andre Iguodala while driving in the lane on a break.
Noah remained in to shoot free throws and stayed on the court for another minute or so before going to the locker room for the first time. He came back in the fourth, but left again for good.
The Bulls, of course, already lost star guard Derrick Rose for the rest of the season to a torn knee ligament he suffered in Game 1.
Carlos Boozer had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Chicago, Richard Hamilton added 17 points and Noah and John Lucas both scored 12.
But Luol Deng had just five points and the Bulls have now lost two in a row to the Eastern Conference's No. 8 seed
The Sixers, after being outscored 21-11 in the third quarter, ripped off a 28-14 fourth. The big quarter echoed Game 2, when they shot better than 68 percent in the third to take control with a 36-14 frame.
The Bulls shot only 24 percent in the fourth. Philly's run came on the heels of a 69-56 Chicago lead. Hawes scored 10 points during it, including his shot from the left side for a 72-71 lead -- the Sixers' first since halftime.
Philly's final seven points came at the free throw line, where they were 12- of-13 in the quarter.
Lucas knocked down a three-pointer to get the Bulls within 75-74 with just 44 seconds left, but Turner collected his own rebound on a missed layup at the other end and made two foul shots. Chicago didn't score again.
"It was a tough loss, but I think this group in here remains confident," said Deng. "We're playing short-handed, but we have a team that's going to fight and scrap for everything. We have to clean up a few things before Game 4 on Sunday."
Hawes, who had just seven combined points in the first two games, scored five in the opening quarter on a three-pointer at the shot clock buzzer and a long jumper from the left side.
Williams scored six in the quarter for the Sixers, but they lost the lead when Lucas hit a fall-away jumper as time expired to make it 20-19 Chicago. Boozer had 10 points in the quarter for the Bulls.
There were 15 lead changes in the first half. The Bulls were up seven after a Lucas three-pointer midway through, but went without a field goal until the final seconds. The Sixers used a 10-2 run during Chicago's cold spell to take a 36-35 lead and went up by as many as three.
Boozer scored the last of his 12 first-half points on a jumper to end an 0- for-6 Bulls spell from the floor and get them within 40-39 at the break.
The Sixers shot just 34.2 percent after making nearly 60 percent of their tries in Game 2. The Bulls shot 37.3 percent and out-rebounded the Sixers 49-43...Deng had nine rebounds and Hamilton had seven assists...Hawes and Turner had nine rebounds apiece and Holiday collected six assists.