When a series is tied 1-1 in the NBA Playoffs, the team that wins Game 3 goes on to win the series 70 percent of the time. The Sixers took Game 3 Friday night, defeating the Chicago Bulls, 79-74, to take a 2-1 series lead in the first round on the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
The Sixers fell behind by as many as 14 points in the third quarter before battling back to trail 71-70 with 3:28 to play thanks to two made Spencer Hawes free throws. Hawes scored 10 points in the final quarter to lead the Sixers' comeback charge.
The Sixers and Bulls traded the lead 15 times in the first half in a game dominated by defense. The home team led 40-39 at intermission.
Chicago came out in the third quarter and despite what could have been two major setbacks, outscored the Sixers 21-11 in the third quarter to go up nine heading into the final 12 minutes.
At the 7:57 mark of the third quarter, Joakim Noah rolled his left ankle when on a fast break when he stepped on Andre Iguodalas foot. The Bulls were up 45-42 at the time. Noah shot his free throws and made them both. Shortly thereafter, he left the game. He did return early in the fourth, but was visibly limping. He has a sprained left ankle.
At the 4:36 mark, Carlos Boozer picked up his fourth personal foul and headed to the bench. He led the Bulls in scoring at the time with 16 points. He finished with 18.
The Sixers missed 11 of their first 12 field goal attempts the third quarter. Meanwhile, Chicago made 5 of 8 to start the quarter and take an eight point lead with five minutes to play. The Bulls ended up holding the Sixers to 4-for-21 shooting while converting 8-for-15 at the other end. Of course, things changed in the fourth.
The Sixers perserved in the fourth quarter to chip away at what started out as a nine-point Chicago lead. They held the Bulls to 6-for-25 shooting while shooting 8-for-16 themselves. They made 12 of 13 free throws.
Follow the Leader
Spencer Hawes was phenomenal, scoring 21 points to lead all scorers; he also had 9 rebounds. Jrue Holiday scored 17 and Evan Turner had 16 points and 9 rebounds.
Lou Williams picked up where he left off in Game Two when he scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. Williams scored 10 first half points before finishing with 14.
Carlos Boozer made his first four field goal attempts and scored 10 first quarter points. He finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Rip Hamilton added 17 points.
The Sixers were 1 for 14 from three. And their two veterans Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand were a combined 2 of 14 for 5 points. Brand was scoreless.
Take A Bow
One minute and twenty seconds into Game 3, Andre Iguodala had the ball knocked out of his hands and out of bounds. It was still Sixers ball with 1.2 seconds on the shot clock. The Sixers ran Spencer Hawes off and screen for a catch and shoot from behind the arc which Hawes made.
Hawes was 3 for 12 from long range during the regular season.
The Sixers big man proceeded to have a strong first quarter with five points and four rebounds.
After having two days between Games 1 and 2 and again between 2 and 3, the series has a quick turn around with Game 4 Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org.