Andre Iguodala helped the Philadelphia 76ers stamp themselves as a rising threat in the East, scoring 19 points and grabbing nine rebounds in a 98-82 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.
Iguodala outplayed Derrick Rose and stuffed a month's worth of highlight video activity into one game. His one-handed dunks, around-the-back passes, and big 3s helped the Sixers lead the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls by 20 at the end of the third quarter.
In front of 18,325 fans, the Sixers confidence is skyrocketing along with the crowds at the Wells Fargo Center.
Thaddeus Young scored 19 points, Lavoy Allen had 14 and Lou Williams 14, all of the bench for the Sixers.
The Sixers (16-6) had used a soft schedule to race to their best start in nearly a decade. No padding their record this week. They beat Orlando on Monday, tamed the Bulls, and go for the home-week sweep against Miami on Friday.
C.J Watson scored 20 points and Rose had 18 for the Bulls.
Long a scapegoat for being an $80 million player on a mediocre team, Iguodala walked off the court during a substitution late in the third quarter to a standing ovation.
Iguodala scored nine points in the third — when the Sixers held the Bulls to 11 total in the quarter. Rose went 1 for 5 from the floor and the Bulls missed 13 of 16 shots in the quarter.
At times, Iguodala played like he was in a pickup game, dunking with style in front of a raucous crowd. His wowed the crowd on a fastbreak when he took the ball behind his back, then gave a scoop pass to Jrue Holiday for a jumper and a 58-46 lead. Holiday scored 17.
Late in the third, Williams and Allen hit consecutive jumpers, and Holiday finished with a 3 to lift the Sixers to a stunning 75-55 lead.
Sixers coach Doug Collins scolded the team after beating the Magic for letting a big lead turn into a soft finish. The Bulls pulled within 12, but Young put a halt to any late spurt with two straight buckets and the lead was pushed back to 15.
The Sixers won their fourth straight game and improved to 12-2 at home.
The Bulls played without Richard Hamilton (right thigh) and Luol Deng (left wrist).
The Sixers were ready to topple the Bulls and caught them off guard early with their frantic defense.
Iguodala blocked a driving Rose, Evan Turner snagged the loose ball and fed to Iguodala on the other end for the bucket. Turner stripped Kyle Korver and that led to an Allen jumper for a 23-19 lead.
Even Collins came extra juiced for the first truly big game of the season for the Sixers. Collins was irate when Iguodala was whistled for a charge and drew a fast technical.
Unlike some technicals that can fire up the other team, the Bulls failed to pull ahead the rest of the half.
Young, one of the top reserves in the NBA, had plenty to do with that. He was in perfect position near the basket to grab a wildly off Iguodala airball, spin around Noah and score. He fell on his rear on a jumper the next time down, then took a perfect pass from Iguodala to finish a fastbreak dunk for a 47-40 lead.
Young scored 11 points in the half and led the Sixers to a 49-44 lead at the break.