Saturday, March 15, 2008

What a comeback!

Andre Iguodala scored 24 points and pulled down eight rebounds as Philadelphia roared back from an 18-point fourth quarter deficit to edge Chicago, 110-106, at the United Center.

Rodney Carney added 18 points, including two huge three-pointers in the final minutes, for the Sixers, who have won six of their last seven games and remain seventh in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. Andre Miller chipped in with 18 points, while Reggie Evans had 12 points and seven boards.

"Guys kept fighting the whole way through," Iguodala said. "Everyone is trying to make something out of their minutes and that's what happened tonight. Tonight was crazy. It was a snowball effect."

Luol Deng had 21 points for the Bulls, who fell a game behind New Jersey and Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the East. Thabo Sefolosha finished with 20 points off the bench and Drew Gooden had 16 points and nine rebounds.

"They just started to beat us off the dribble," Bulls coach Jim Boylan said. "They just kind of wore us down. Their penetration became very easy."

The Sixers trailed by 16 points entering the fourth quarter and fell down by as many as 18 points before a 16-4 burst midway through the frame got them back in the game. Iguodala's driving slam started the run and Carney drained a three before Lou Williams hit a pair from the charity stripe to make it a 94-90 game with 5:20 left.

Larry Hughes stemmed the tide by going backdoor on the baseline for an easy dunk but Philadelphia kept the pressure on. Consecutive threes by Carney and Iguodala evened things at 98 with 3:11 on the clock.

Moments later Carney nailed another three from the right corner that gave the Sixers their first lead, 103-102, since the game was 2-0.

Sefolosha was called for an offensive foul at the other end and Williams took advantage by getting inside the lane for a floater to make it 105-102 with just 1:30 on the clock.

The Bulls would keep things interesting. After Williams matched a Deng dunk with a driving layup, Gooden swooped in from the right baseline for an easy layin to close the gap to one, 107-106, with 51.2 seconds remaining.

Philadelphia went to the pick-and-roll but Chicago clamped down on Williams and he was forced to take a long jumper that fell off the front of the iron, giving the Bulls a chance with 29.4 seconds left.

Hughes tried to drive left on Williams but he extended his arm and was called for the offensive foul and the turnover.

The Bulls immediately fouled Iguodala with 19.5 seconds left and the Sixers swingman calmly drained two from the line to extend the Philadelphia lead to 109-106.

Gordon then went for the tie but Kevin Ollie tightly contested his three- pointer, forcing the miss.

Dalembert secured the rebound and made 1-of-2 at the other end to secure things.

"That was a heck of a win for us," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Everyone contributed. This is a team game and that was definitely a team win for us tonight."

The Bulls had a slim 26-25 edge after the opening 12 minutes.

The Sixers fell apart on both ends of the floor late in the second quarter. Chicago closed the quarter with a 15-6 push to take control. Hughes highlighted the run with a three and a jumper as the Bulls took a 58-43 lead into the locker room.

Chicago continued to score at will in the third quarter and extended its lead to 16, 86-70, when Sefolosha stroked a three with just 1.5 seconds left in the third quarter.

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