Bulls rally from 99 down to beat Sixers?


Dennis Rodman says Allen Iverson runs his mouth too much.
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PHILADELPHIA -- Numbers don't lie ... unless the scoreboard malfunctions and shows one team with a 99-point lead.

That's what happened Saturday night, when Michael Jordan scored 31 points and the Chicago Bulls held on for a 111-105 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

"When you looked up, you really didn't know who was leading the game," Chicago forward Scottie Pippen said of the scoreboard problem, which showed Philadelphia with the huge advantage. "When the score isn't officially right, you kind of lose some momentum."

These numbers are accurate: The Bulls won their sixth in a row and tied their team record with a 23-3 start, set during last season's record-breaking 72-10 campaign.

On the other end of the spectrum are the Sixers, who were 7-8 in November but have lost all 10 of their December games. The 76ers turned the ball over 22 times Saturday and lead the NBA with 491 turnovers.

Pippen scored 22 points and Dennis Rodman grabbed 18 rebounds for Chicago. Rodman also made six of 10 from the field and scored 12 points, one shy of his season high.

"Coach (Phil Jackson) worked on my offense more tonight," Rodman said. "I want to contribute whenever they need me."

Sixers rookie Allen Iverson broke out of a slump to score 32 points, Derrick Coleman added 22 and Jerry Stackhouse contributed 18.

"We'll get better," Iverson said. "We're playing as hard as we can and that's all you can ask. Hopefully we can bounce back from this with something positive."

In Iverson's four previous games, he averaged 13.3 points on 18 for 75 shooting. He was a solid 11 for 23 from the floor Saturday, but he turned the ball over nine times.

"Iverson has all the right tools," Jordan said. "He certainly is an exciting player."

"Iverson is a tough competitor," Pippen said. "He's a young player, kind of cocky and arrogant. A lot of guys want to go at him, but that's to be expected."

Pippen and Rodman frustrated Iverson during a November game by bombarding him with trash-talk throughout the game. On Saturday, Iverson jabbered with the Chicago bench all game long and eventually got into a shoving match with Rodman late in the game.

"It's a joke if you think he's out there getting in my head," Iverson said. "I won't let anybody like that get me out of my game. He's going to try to provoke you into doing something."

"He thinks he's God," Rodman said. "I didn't want to hurt him, just make sure he knows he shouldn't come in here talking all that trash."

Coleman hit a jumper to give the Sixers their last lead at 89-88 with 8:31 left before Steve Kerr hit a jumper that gave the Bulls the lead for good. Jordan followed with a dunk and Rodman hit a jumper to cap the 6-0 spurt, giving Chicago a 94-89 edge midway through the fourth quarter.

The Bulls played good defense during that span, highlighted by a Jordan steal of Iverson.

"I didn't set out to frustrate just him tonight," Jordan said of Iverson. "I set out to frustrate everyone every night."

The Sixers didn't fade, closing within 98-97 on a layup by Iverson with 2:50 to go. But Jordan made two free throws to ignite a 7-0 run that sealed the game. Kerr added a 3-pointer and Randy Brown sank a pair from the line for a 105-97 lead with 88 seconds left.

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