76ers 89, Bulls 81

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CHICAGO (AP)—Kenny Thomas is not used to being the No. 1 one option for the 76ers. But with Allen Iverson hurt, the offense ran through Thomas.

Thomas had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Aaron McKie added 21 points as Philadelphia overcame the absence of Iverson to defeat the Chicago Bulls 89-81 Tuesday night.

Philadelphia, playing its second straight game without its All-Star guard (right knee injury), won its third straight—matching a season-high—and snapped a four-game road losing streak.

For most of the night, Thomas was the go-to-guy on offense.

“It kind of feels good. It kind of goes back to Houston days; Rudy Tomjanovich, ran a lot of plays for me with a lot of (isolation),” said Thomas.

Philadelphia pulled away midway through the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run to break a 65-65 tie. Thomas scored five points in the span, hitting a long jumper and converting a three-point play.

“In the fourth quarter and going into the fourth quarter we knocked down some shots,” said Thomas. “Three straight feels good; seems like its been awhile.”

Kyle Korver also hit a 3, and Zendon Hamilton capped it by hitting two free throws for a 76-67 lead with 6:47 left.

The 76ers won three straight games for the first time since Dec. 9.

Kirk Hinrich pulled the Bulls to 78-75 on a driving layup with 2:21 left, but Philadelphia answered with six straight points.

Eddy Curry and Jamal Crawford both scored 18, and Hinrich and Antonio Davis each added 13 for the Bulls, who have lost seven of nine.

Bulls head coach Scott Skiles was upset with Curry being held to just one rebound in the game.

“I wish everyone would stop focusing on so much of Eddy’s scoring, because that makes my job very difficult,” said Skiles. “He needs a lot of work on his defense and his rebounding. Just by pure athleticism, agility and skill, he’s going to score in games.”

Curry agreed with Skiles’ assessment.

“I think I definitely need to improve on rebounding and playing defense,” said Curry. “That’s something on the front of my mind. I really don’t focus on scoring in the games, I take what comes to me and what my teammates present to me.”

McKie scored 11 points in the third quarter for Philadelphia, going 4-for-5 from the floor.

The Sixers trailed 61-60 at the end of third quarter, making it 10 straight games they have been behind entering the fourth.

John Salmons scored 13 points for the 76ers and Eric Snow added 10 pointsand 11 assists. ^Notes: Iverson didn’t make the trip to Chicago. Glenn Robinson made the trip, but did not play because of an elbow injury. Iverson has missed 20 games this season and is listed as day-to-day. The 76ers are 8-12 without him, but are 5-1 without Iverson and Robinson. … Bulls guard Kendall Gill did not dress because of an eye injury. … The 76ers were unable to leave Philadelphia on Monday night because of a cracked windshield on their plane. They arrived in Chicago on Tuesday morning. … Linton Johnson had a career-high 14 rebounds for Chicago. … The 76ers extended their winning streak to four against theBulls.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Philadelphia
K. Thomas K. Thomas
10-17,  22 Pts
13 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Chicago
J. Crawford J. Crawford
8-22,  18 Pts
3 Rebs, 6 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists