Watson has 20 points, leads Bulls over 76ers 89-80Philadelphia 76ers forward Andre Iguodala shoots in front of Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng (9), of South Sudan, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 17, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)
CHICAGO (AP) C.J. Watson scored 20 points and Joakim Noah added 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to an 89-80 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
The Bulls overcame an early 14-point deficit without Derrick Rose, who missed his third straight game with a strained groin. Even with the reigning MVP missing 13 games this season, the Bulls still have the best record in the NBA at 37-10. The Bulls are 9-4 without Rose.
Jrue Holiday led the 76ers with 30 points, who dropped its third straight overall and have lost seven of nine on the road. Holiday got little help as Andre Iguodala was held to seven points and Elton Brand to seven.
Chicago went on a 14-3 run in the third quarter to take the lead. Carlos Boozer made a pair of free throws to tie the game then Watson made a 3-pointer to give Chicago its first lead, 52-49. Omer Asik had a tip-in as time expired at the end of the quarter to increase Chicago's lead to 64-59.
Kyle Korver made a jumper and after Asik's free throw, Korver made a 3 to increase the lead to 71-63. Things started to unravel for the the 76ers as Spencer Hawes was called for a techincal after an offensive foul and Evan Turner was also called for technical after he argued what he thought should've been a goaltending call.
Holiday's basket got the Bulls to 79-75 with 3:30, but the Bulls answered with a 10-2 run led by Noah, who had eight points in the span.
The Bulls outrebounded the 76ers 53-39.
The 76ers came out with more urgency than they did in a loss to the Heat on Friday night. The 76ers jumped out to a 11-0 lead. Holiday scored nine of Philadelphia's first 13 points. The Bulls didn't score in the first quarter until Boozer hit a jumper with 6:49 left. The Bulls couldn't convert on its first seven shot attempts. Lou Williams' layup gave the 76ers a 24-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Ronnie Brewer's layup as time expired at the end of the second quarter got the Bulls to 44-38. Holiday scored 15 points in the first half for the 76ers. Watson and Gibson led the Bulls with eight apiece. Iguodala was held to two points in the first half on 1-of-4 shooting.
NOTES: The Bulls wore green uniforms in honor of St. Patrick's Day. ... Andres Nocioni did not make the trip with the 76ers for Saturday's game at Chicago. Nocioni was with the 76ers in last night's 84-78 loss to Miami, but did not play. According to a 76ers spokesman, Nocioni is still on the active roster, but the team is allowing him to explore other options. ''His official status is that I don't know if the paperwork is done, but we've worked out a deal with him to allow him to either go on with another team maybe, or if not, I talked to him last night, go to Argentina and get ready for the Olympics,'' 76ers head coach Doug Collins said.