Sixers even series with rout of Rose-less Bulls
Chicago, IL – The 76ers found a way to turn out the lights on a Bulls team trying to rally without Derrick Rose.
They shot 'em out.
Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams and Evan Turner combined to score 65 points Tuesday night and Philadelphia shot almost 60 percent to beat Chicago 109-92 and even their first-round series at a game apiece.
The Bulls won the series opener on Saturday but lost the reigning MVP Rose for the rest of the season to a torn ligament in his left knee.
Game 3 is Friday in Philadelphia.
Holiday scored 26 points, Williams had 20 off the bench and Turner added 19 for the Sixers, who shot 59 percent for the game and led by as many as 24 down the stretch.
They shot better than 68 percent while outscoring the Bulls 36-14 in a third quarter punctuated by alley-oop dunks and 11 fast-break points.
"A wonderful win," said Sixers coach Doug Collins.
And an eye-opener for the Bulls, who lost Rose to a torn ACL on a jump-stop in the lane with 70 seconds left in Game 1. The were Bulls up by 12 points when Rose went down Saturday and they never led by more than 10 in this one.
Joakim Noah scored 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting in Rose's absence and John Lucas had 15. C.J. Watson started for Rose, who watched the game from a United Center booth, and had 12 points.
The Bulls went 18-9 without Rose in regular season as their star point guard battled a litany of injuries, but struggled to stop the hard-charging Sixers in the second half Tuesday.
The Sixers turned an eight-point deficit at halftime into 14-point lead by the end of the third quarter.
The tone of the game changed with a 12-0 run led by Turner and Elton Brand, which gave the Sixers a 68-61 lead. And it only got worse for the Bulls from there.
The dunks came often after that, with Andre Iguodala throwing down two in transition, including a windmill jam, and Thaddeus Young and Williams both going up for alley-oops.
The lead was 83-69 going into the fourth and reached 21 points on a Lavoy Allen jumper 3 1/2 minutes in. It was never closer than 15 after that.
"The third quarter was the game," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "They got into the open floor and crushed us off isolation. We have to come back with a lot more fight."
Six Philadelphia players scored in double digits, with Brand adding 12 and Iguodala and Allen both contributing 11. The Sixers out-rebounded the Bulls 38-32 and out-scored them 52-32 in the paint and 25-8 on the break.
"For the first time in a long time, our defense dictated our offense," said Iguodala. "We started with that in the third."
Early on, the top-seeded Bulls responded to Rose's absence with a balanced first quarter. Each of their starters scored at least five points for a 28-25 lead going into the second despite Philadelphia shooting nearly 59 percent.
Lucas scored the last four points of an 8-0 run in the second quarter that gave Chicago a 47-39 lead. The Bulls went up by as many as 10 on his floater in the final seconds and carried a 55-47 advantage into halftime behind Noah's 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting.
Holiday led all players with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the first half and the Sixers out-shot the Bulls 52.8 percent to 49 percent.
The Bulls were a different team in the second half, letting the Sixers steal homecourt advantage, but Thibodeau said there was no psychological effect from not having Rose.
"We're capable of playing a lot better than we did," he said. "It starts with me. I have to get us ready to play better. We have a couple of days to get it right."
Holiday missed just four of his 15 shots and was a perfect 3-for-3 on three- pointers. The Sixers were 5-for-12 as a team from beyond the arc and the Bulls were 6-of-14.