The Philadelphia 76ers couldn’t stop Derrick Rose. They just tried to make it difficult for him at every turn.
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They hounded the Chicago star on defense, double-teamed him and worked to cut off his path to the basket whenever possible. Rose still had 31 points Monday night, but he also committed 10 turnovers and the 76ers held on after building a big lead to beat the Bulls 97-85 and end their 14-game homecourt winning streak.
”He’s so aggressive offensively that we tried to be aggressive with him,” Philly’s Elton Brand said. ”Jrue Holiday didn’t score a lot of points, but he was the main guy on him. The bigs trapped well and we just tried to make it tough on him. … It’s hard to stop him.”
The 76ers built a 23-point lead in the first half before Chicago whittled it down to four in the final quarter, but couldn’t make it back all the way. The Bulls never led.
Six players scored in double figures for the Sixers, led by 21 from Thaddeus Young. Philadelphia has now beaten the Bulls two straight times this season after losing at the United Center by 45 in December.
”We came out sluggish. This one is definitely on me,” a disgusted Rose said. ”Just me taking care of the ball and missing shots that I normally hit. … Just careless, some of them was me driving and kicking the ball off my foot. ”
The Bulls lost for only the second time in the last 14 games overall and still own the best record in the East, leading by two games over the Celtics and Heat. Boston lost to Indiana on Monday night and Miami was idle.
”It gets ever tougher now where teams are fighting for a spot,” Rose said. ”And when you come out like we did tonight, like I did tonight, you are going to lose games.”
Andre Iguodala added 19 points and seven assists for the 76ers, who bounced back from a tough home loss to the Kings on Sunday night. Heading toward the playoffs, Philadelphia showed some depth and its speed in beating the Bulls. And what an improvement the 76ers have made since they started the season 3-13.
”The first time we walked into this building, we got beat by 45 points and now we’ve beaten them the last two times we’ve played them,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said. ”This is the best team in the East, so our guys should know we should be capable of playing against anybody.”
Carlos Boozer scored 15 points for the Bulls, and Joakim Noah had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Philly got a big boost from 7-foot-1 Spencer Hawes, who hit three big shots in the fourth quarter.
After the Bulls cut into the big deficit and trailed by only five entering the final quarter, Iguodala converted a three-point play.
Rose made two strong drives for baskets, once with a highlight-film crossover as the Bulls rallied within four.
The lead went back to eight on a layup by Young, who moments later was shaken during a loose ball scramble with just over 5 minutes left. And when Hawes hit back-to-back jumpers, Philly had increased the lead back to 10 with 3:45 to go.
Rose made two at the line and Noah drove for a basket to make it a six-point game before Hawes connected again and Holiday had a layup after a Bulls turnover to put it back to 10 and put it out of reach.
Young scored 17 points in the first half and the Sixers led by as many as 23 before settling for a 53-37 halftime lead. Philly shot 46 percent and had a strong defensive effort against Rose, holding him to seven points on 3-for-8 shooting.
But Rose responded in the third with three driving baskets and a floater, and his 10 points finally brought the United Center crowd into the game. Trailing by 19 early in the quarter, the Bulls turned up the defense and got their break going. They scored the final eight points of the period to close within 69-64 on Kyle Korver’s long jumper from the corner just before the buzzer. Philly was outscored 27-16 in the third.
Young had 13 points in the second quarter and the Sixers kept running, driving and beating the Bulls to rebounds, building a 48-25 point lead.
Notes: It was the Bulls’ first home loss since Jan. 18 against Charlotte. … Philly shot 45 percent for the game and Young was 10 for 16.