Watson leads Rose-less Bulls past SixersMar 18, 2012 - 5:43 AM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - C.J. Watson dropped in four three-pointers en route to a team-high 20 points as the Chicago Bulls rallied in the second half to down the Philadelphia 76ers, 89-80, at United Center.
Watson was playing in place of reigning MVP Derrick Rose, who missed his third straight game with a groin injury.
Joakim Noah added 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson and Kyle Korver netted 11 points apiece for Chicago, which finished a six-game homestand with a 4-2 record.
"This was a very important win," Watson said. "We're trying to get that first seed, take home-court advantage and go from there. It's going to be pretty hard, but we just have to keep everyone healthy, try to win every game and just focus on us."
Jrue Holiday netted a career-high 30 points to go along with five assists and five rebounds for the Sixers, who lost their third straight game.
The Bulls trailed, 44-38, at the half after a sloppy 24 minutes in which they shot 44.7 percent and turned the ball over 11 times, but they came out surging in the third quarter.
After Holiday opened the third with a layup to put the Sixers ahead by eight, Chicago reeled off a 14-3 run to take their first lead of the game, 52-49, on Watson's three-pointer.
Philadelphia responded with a 6-2 spurt to retake the lead, but Watson nailed another trey to put Chicago back on top and the Bulls outscored the Sixers by a mark of 10-4 over the final three minutes of the frame to take a 64-59 advantage into the fourth.
Field goals by Holiday and Thaddeus Young around an Omer Asik free throw brought the Sixers within two, 65-63, two minutes into the fourth, but the Bulls pulled away with seven straight points to stretch their lead to nine.
A late 10-3 swing by Philadelphia closed the gap to four, 81-77, with less than three minutes remaining in the contest, but Chicago recorded the game's next eight points to seal the win and avoid losing consecutive games for the first time this season.
The Sixers started the game with an 11-0 run that included seven points by Holiday as Chicago missed their first seven shots from the floor.
Boozer broke the offensive slump with a jumper, sparking a brief 9-5 spurt by the Bulls to close the gap to six, 15-9, but Philadelphia closed out the first quarter with a 9-2 swing to take a 24-11 lead into the second.
Chicago trailed by double digits over the first four minutes of the second quarter until back-to-back baskets by John Lucas sparked an 8-0 run by the Bulls to get within six, 29-23.
Elton Brand's jumper was then followed by a Holiday layup to put the Sixers back on top by double-digits and Philadelphia was able to keep the Bulls at arm's length for the remainder of the half until a late 5-2 charge by Chicago made it a 44-38 game at the break.
"Anybody we play, we're going to give them a fight, but I think we like playing Chicago," Holiday said. "They are one of the top teams and they have the MVP, so we're always going to step up against them."
Bulls guard Richard Hamilton also sat out the contest with a sprained right shoulder...The last time Chicago lost back-to-back games was from February 5-7, 2011...The Bulls improved to 19-4 at home this season, while Philadelphia fell to 9-11 on the road...The Sixers outscored Chicago in the paint, 40-22.
- PHILADELPHIA: 80
Mar 17 10:34 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 59
End of 3rd
Mar 17 9:57 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 44
Mar 17 9:06 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 24
End of 1st
Mar 17 8:36 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Mar 17 8:13 PM
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