Thursday, March 27, 2008

Streaking Sixers are UnbelievaBull

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Lou Williams poured in 23 points on 8- of-13 shooting off the bench as Philadelphia routed Chicago, 121-99, at the Wachovia Center.

Andre Iguodala added 21 points and nine assists for the red-hot Sixers, who remained in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, just one- half game behind Washington. The Wizards downed Seattle, 104-99, on Wednesday.

Rookie Thaddeus Young chipped in with 20 points and six rebounds, while Andre Miller has just nine points but dished out a season-high 18 helpers for Philadelphia.

"Well, that was a great game for us," said Sixers head coach Maurice Cheeks said. "The way we came out and defended, opened the game up a little bit, getting in the open court, things that we've been doing for the past month or two months. I just thought that everyone who stepped out on the court was very, very good."

Thabo Sefolosha finished with 20 points and five assists for the Bulls, who have dropped four of five games and fell three games behind the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks for the final playoff berth in the East. Kirk Hinrich netted 18 points and had six assists, while Andres Nocioni had 16 points.

The Sixers roared out of the blocks with a dominating fastbreak offense to seize control early. Iguodala stroked a three and followed that with a slam to give Philadelphia an early 14-4 edge.

The Sixers kept the pressure on from there and expanded their advantage to 15, 34-19, by the end of the opening frame.

A 12-0 Philadelphia run, capped by consecutive Iguodala dunks on the break, gave the Sixers a comfortable 20-point lead, 59-39, with under three minutes to go in the second quarter.

After a Young layup put Philly up by 22, the Bulls managed to close the quarter with consecutive threes by Hinrich and Nocioni to make it a 65-49 game heading to the locker room.

Chicago continued to chip away a bit in the third quarter and closed the deficit to nine, 86-77, after consecutive Nocioni buckets late in the frame.

But, Williams stemmed the tide by draining a three and Young followed with a slam to make it a 91-77 game heading to the fourth quarter.

The Sixers then opened the final stanza with a 13-3 run, featuring a Williams dunk and three, to put the final nail in the Bulls' coffin. Williams also capped the spurt with a pair of free throws to extend the Philadelphia advantage to 104-80 with 8:55 left.

The Sixers coasted to the finish line from there.

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