PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Allen Iverson is becoming quite a passer.
Keith Van Horn had 20 points and Kenny Thomas added 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Sixers, 20-5 since the All-Star break. They trail first-place New Jersey by a half-game in the Atlantic Division. The Nets lost at New Orleans.
Iverson, having his best all-around season, has averaged 9.4 assists over his last five games. He put on a passing clinic early, getting assists on a no-look pass, an over-the-shoulder feed and a behind-the-back pass.
“I’m just playing basketball, taking what defenses give me,” Iverson said. “When guys are open, I try to get them the ball. I’m trying to play the right way.”
“It was just some untimely mistakes,” Bulls coach Bill Cartwright said. “I don’t think it was them, it was us.”
The Sixers used a 10-0 run in the third quarter to take a 70-62 lead. Eric Snow started the spurt with four consecutive free throws. Brian Skinner followed with a slam, Greg Buckner made a driving layup and Iverson finished the burst with two free throws.
Van Horn got a dunk off an alley-oop pass from Iverson and Aaron McKie scored an easy basket off another crisp pass from Iverson to make it 89-76 midway through the fourth period.
The Bulls didn’t get closer than five points the rest of the way.
“He’s playing great,” McKie said of Iverson, a three-time NBA scoring champion. “He’s giving it up and he’s creating chances for other guys.”
Iverson wore a leg band on his left leg to reduce swelling near his knee. He has fluid in the knee and likely will need to have it drained.
“It’s the size of a softball,” Iverson said of the fluid buildup. “I’m hoping it’ll go down so they don’t have to stick me.”
Van Horn had 12 points in the first six minutes, but didn’t score again until hitting a 3-pointer in opening minute of the fourth quarter. Iverson had six of his assists in the first quarter. He shot 8-for-14 and was 8-for-12 from the foul line.
“Allen played great, Kenny continues to play good and Keith started out like he was going to score 50,” Sixers coach Larry Brown said.
Thomas has double figures in points and rebounds in five straight games. He had 24 points and 20 rebounds in Monday night’s comeback overtime victory at Orlando.
Philadelphia led the game from the start, and built a 12-point lead early in the second quarter. But the Bulls outscored the Sixers 20-5 over the final 6:18 of the second quarter to take a 53-49 halftime lead.
A long jumper by Marshall capped a 14-2 run, giving Chicago its first lead, 47-45. Williams made a driving layup and hit a 3-pointer for the Bulls’ final five points.
The Sixers missed 13 of their 18 shots in the second quarter, including eight straight at one point.
“Its frustrating when you play well in three of four quarters, but lose,”Marshall said. ^Notes: Philadelphia was without center Derrick Coleman, out with a left thigh contusion. Coleman had 18 points and 13 rebounds Monday night. … Bulls forward/center Tyson Chandler missed his second consecutive game with an inflamed esophagus. … The Sixers are 3-0 against Chicago this season, and have won 15 of the last 19 in the series. … Eddy Curry had 19 points and fiverebounds. He led the Bulls in both categories the previous three games.