Published November 20, 2014
The Philadelphia 76ers have the NBA's No. 1 overall seed on the brink of elimination.
The only good news for the shorthanded Chicago Bulls? They get to go back home to try and turn it all around.
"We gotta find a way. That's it," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "We're fighting, but we can do better. We can do a lot better."
Jrue Holiday scored six of his 20 points on back-to-back 3s late in the fourth quarter Sunday and the Sixers beat the Bulls, 89-82, in Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round series.
The Sixers have won three straight since Bulls star Derrick Rose went down for the rest of the season with an injury late in Game 1. Chicago played this one without another key starter, center Joakim Noah, who sprained his left ankle in Game 3.
Game 5 is Tuesday in Chicago.
Holiday's three-pointers 40 seconds apart gave the Sixers an 80-73 lead with about 3 1/3 minutes remaining -- a back-breaker for a Bulls team trying its best to rally down the stretch without two big pieces of the puzzle.
"Two huge 3s," said Sixers coach Doug Collins, who instructs his players to take shot when they're open.
Holiday had been 1-for-13 in the first half and finished just 7-of-23 for the game.
"If you miss, you miss," said Collins.
While Holiday punctuated the win, Spencer Hawes gave the Sixers a kick with 17 of his 22 points in the first half. They included a three-pointer the 7-foot-1 center knocked down in the final seconds of the half.
Andre Iguodala was the only other Philly player to score in double digits with 14 points and the Sixers shot under 40 percent.
Carlos Boozer had 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead Chicago, C.J. Watson got 17 points starting for Rose again and Taj Gibson scored 14 off the bench with 12 boards.
The Sixers had a one-point lead after three quarters -- fighting back from a deficit of six -- and pulled away late in the fourth in front of 20,412 fans at the packed Wells Fargo Center.
Holiday buried his first 3 off a screen from the right side, then knocked down the second one over Watson closer to the top of the key to stretch a one-point lead to seven.
Watson made a pair of jumper above the foul line and had the Bulls within a couple points, but Boozer was blocked by Elton Brand and Hawes on a physical move in the lane with a chance to tie the game.
He missed an opportunity to trim a four-point deficit to two when he dribbled out of bounds after a timeout with 48.2 seconds left. Iguodala made two free throws at the other end after he was fouled as the shot clock wound down and the Bulls weren't closer than four after that.
"We knew we were going to get a tremendous effort (from the Bulls)," said Collins, who suddenly has the Eastern Conference's No. 8 seed one win away from an upset.
The Sixers jumped on the shorthanded Bulls early and had a 24-15 lead after 12 minutes.
Luol Deng, who had just 17 total points in the first three games, including four in Game 3, scored six in the first quarter Sunday but the Bulls shot just 28 percent from the floor.
Deng finished with 11 points.
Hawes scored six points during a 10-0 Sixers run that made it 18-8. Holiday blocked Richard Hamilton later in the quarter, leading to an Iguodala dunk in transition.
The Bulls fought back in the second, using a 13-4 run led by Gibson to pull within a point. Gibson had eight straight points to spark the burst and scored 10 overall during it. The other points came on a Kyle Korver three.
Chicago took the lead on a Boozer jumper but Hawes hit a three-pointer from the right corner with 5.9 seconds left to give the Sixers a 44-42 lead.
"That was a huge shot for us. He's got great instincts," said Collins. "Spencer is a very, very smart player."
Hawes led everyone with 17 points in the half on 7-of-8 shooting while the rest of the team was 10-of-38, including Holiday's 1-for-13 mark and Evan Turner's 2-for-9.
The Bulls took a six-point lead on Watson's three midway through a tight third quarter, but Iguodala's three-pointer capped a 7-0 run to put the Sixers back on top and they took a 64-63 lead into the fourth.
The Sixers haven't won a playoff series since 2003...Noah rolled his ankle in the third quarter of Game 3 on Friday when he stepped on the foot of Iguodala.