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Surprising Sixers top Bulls to start 3-0

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Forget the lottery.

These Philadelphia 76ers seem to be for real.

Despite being projected to be among the worst teams in the league, the Sixers improved to 3-0 following a stirring 107-104 victory over the Chicago Bulls before a boisterous crowd Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center.

The Sixers opened the season with an unlikely victory over the two-time defending champion Miami Heat then won Friday night at Washington. On the second leg of a back-to-back, the Sixers trailed by as many as 20 points but rallied for a victory.

Rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams was sensational once again, with 26 points and 10 assists, while Evan Turner added 20 points. Spencer Hawes had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Thaddeus Young scored 13 points and Tony Wroten had 11.

For a team projected by many to win about 20 games, this has been a complete reversal under first-year coach Brett Brown.

"The more you can win in adverse situations, it just keeps building on that feeling," Brown said.

Brown came to the Sixers after seven years as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, and he has the Sixers believing.

"We understand what everybody has said and written about us," Brown said. "Our guys have put in the day-to-day stuff, which has always been our message. We just want to knock out great days. Those days have added up. I'm lucky I've found a group that enjoys each other's company and they enjoy playing together."

Carlos Boozer led the Bulls (1-2) with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Luol Deng contributed 20 points and Derrick Rose had 13. But Rose shot 4-for-14 and committed two costly turnovers in the final 3:31.

Rose, who missed last season with an ACL injury, finished with an uncharacteristic eight turnovers.

"The turnovers (bothered me). Missed shots I can deal with," Rose said. "Turnovers -- I feel like I had two or three in a row and it was important at the end. All I can do is work harder."

A 3-pointer by Rose gave the Bulls a short-lived 104-102 lead with 2:13 remaining.

The Bulls didn't score again.

Turner had three points and Hawes knocked down a huge jumper with 5.9 seconds left to give the Sixers a three-point cushion that they didn't relinquish.

Carter-Williams anchored the comeback with a strong second half.

In the end, Carter-Williams compiled his second double-double. He has 62 points three his first three games, the highest total by a Sixer since Allen Iverson had 69 through the first three games of the 1996-97 season.

"I'm just out there to make plays for my teammates," Carter-Williams said.

The Bulls didn't make enough plays, especially down the stretch. They know it.

They're also aware that it's simply three games in a marathon 82-game season.

"Of course we're disappointed to be losing games," Rose said. "At the same time, we know what we have here and we know we can win."

So do the Sixers, who are not listening to the naysayers.

"We're just playing," Carter-Williams said. "We're going to work every day, listening to the coaches and putting the time in. So far, the results have been great."

NOTES: Rose continues to wear tape on the back of his neck because of soreness in that area. It's something he has done in the past. ... Nine of Chicago's 13 games will be played on the road in November, beginning with this one at Philadelphia. ... The Sixers unveiled the same starting five for the third straight game -- Carter-Williams and James Anderson at guard, Turner and Young at forward with Hawes at center. ... This was the first game of a four-game homestand for the Sixers. ... The Sixers are 3-0 despite not holding a lead heading into the fourth quarter yet.
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