Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 2/16

Game 1: Thursday, February 16th
Game 2: Saturday, February 25th
Game 3: Wednesday, April 5th
Game 4: Saturday, April 8th

Bulls 102

(24-31, 12-16 away)

76ers 108

(28-27, 18-11 home)

Coverage: CSN

7:30 PM ET, February 25, 2006

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 31 28 15 28102
PHI 34 23 24 27108

Top Performers

Chi: K. Hinrich 13 Pts, 3 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl

Phi: A. Iverson 38 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 4 Stl

Iverson leads Sixers past Bulls for third straight win

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Allen Iverson was challenged by coach Maurice Cheeks during the All-Star break to become more of a leader on the court, share the ball and take over when needed.

It looks like the former MVP not only listened, but is interested in following through on the plan.

"We tried it different ways in the first half of the season and now we just have to do it the way Mo Cheeks wants it done every night," Iverson said.

Iverson scored 14 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter, Andre Iguodala had 20 and Kyle Korver 19 to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their third straight win, 108-102 over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

"We just need everyone to contribute," Iverson said. "We feel like this is a whole new season for us."

The Sixers (28-27) haven't lost since the All-Star break and moved a game over .500 for the first time since Feb. 4. They also have moved ahead of Milwaukee into seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.

With Philadelphia playing without starters Chris Webber (flu) and Samuel Dalembert (sprained ankle), Iverson helped make up for their absence with his fourth 30-point game in the last six.

When the Bulls rallied in the fourth quarter on Chris Duhon's 3-pointers, Iverson pushed them back with some big baskets of his own. When Duhon hit a 3 early in the fourth, two baskets by Iverson gave the Sixers a six-point lead. After Duhon's second 3 of the quarter again pulled the Bulls within one, Iverson sank a jumper and a 3.

After the Bulls cut the gap to four in the final minute, Iguodala swiped the ball and was fouled on the fast break, sinking two free throws for a 102-96 lead. The Sixers then sealed the win from the line. They sure were comfortable from there, sinking 43 of 57 attempts. The Bulls went 18-for-20.

Iverson scored 30-plus points for the 36th time this season and barely missed his 12th 40-point game. The NBA's second-leading scorer has made 30 of 64 shots during the winning streak.

"These three games, he's been phenomenal," Cheeks said.

The recently demoted Korver struggled at first coming off the bench, but has been strong since the break. Coming off his career-high 31-point game a night earlier against Milwaukee, Korver hit consecutive 3-pointers during a 12-0 spurt at the end of the third quarter for an 81-74 lead.

"This is a game where, if you're going to get serious about what you're going to do this season, you've got to lay it all on the line in the third quarter when we have a chance to win," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "We just looked out of it. We looked out of it most of the night."

The demotion so affected Korver that he skipped the chance to participate in the All-Star weekend 3-point contest and went home to clear his head and focus on the second half.

"I really needed to get away," Korver said. "I'm back now. I'm not trying to force it. I'm not trying to prove I belong in a certain spot."

Iguodala, the Rookie Challenge MVP, went over the 20-point mark for the second time this week, though he got the bulk of his points by going 11-for-15 from the free throw line. Still, the Sixers need consistent scoring from more than Webber and Iverson to make a playoff push and these first three games have been a small, promising step toward that goal.

Shavilk Randolph had eight points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Sixers, who were much more competitive than the last time they played the Bulls in the final game before the All-Star break. The Sixers had their most lopsided loss of the season that night, 117-84.

Duhon led the Bulls with 17 points, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng each scored 15, and Malik Allen had 13.

"We had chances to win, but the whole game, we couldn't stop them," Duhon said.

Defense was a mere afterthought in this one, with Iverson scoring 22 points in the first half, Allen and Gordon combined for 27 and the Bulls shot 50 percent from the floor to grab a 59-57 lead.

Game notes

Dalembert said he hoped to return for Wednesday's game at Houston. He's listed as day-to-day. ... No. 1 Duke beat Temple 74-66 in a game played earlier in the day at the Wachovia Center. Three former Blue Devils played in the nightcap. ... The Sixers used their ninth different lineup.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 102 108
FGM-FGA 38-80 (.475) 30-70 (.429)
3PM-3PA 8-20 (.400) 5-11 (.455)
FTM-FTA 18-20 (.900) 43-57 (.754)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-48 10-36
Assists 20 13
Turnovers 22 13
Steals 3 11
Blocks 3 5
Fast Break Points 4 12
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 40 (2/0) 21 (0/0)
Largest Lead 7 9

Top Performers

Kirk Hinrich Hinrich
Points: 13
Reb: 3
Ast: 8
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
Allen Iverson Iverson
Points: 38
Reb: 4
Ast: 5
Stl: 4
Blk: 0