Sixers Stumbling Into the Playoffs

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Sixers continue to struggle as they miss the presence of Thaddeus Young on the floor losing to the Chicago Bulls 113-99 Thursday night.

The loss was the third straight for sixth-place Philadelphia, which is stumbling into the playoffs after a late-season collapse a year ago. Andre Miller scored 20 points -- none in the fourth quarter -- and Andre Iguodala added 19 for the 76ers, who trail Miami by a game and lead Chicago by just 1 1/2.

"They're tough because they're getting into a rhythm at the right time," Miller said. "They're moving the ball, sharing, playing well off each other, taking advantage of their shooters and their fastbreak with a quick point guard (Derrick Rose)."

The Sixers were ahead 61-58 before Gordon tied it with a 3-pointer five minutes into the third quarter to start a 20-6 run that put away the Sixers.

Both teams shot 52 percent, but the Bulls outscored Philadelphia 63-49 in the second half thanks to their unselfish play.

Derrick Rose had 16 points and eight assists, Brad Miller came off the bench to score 15, and the Bulls made all 19 foul shots.

"We know we can win games," Rose said. "We just have to come out and be aggressive from the beginning. We have a lot of confidence."

Now, they're on the verge of another playoff berth after a 33-49 freefall last year.

The Sixers appear to be in the middle of one again.

They clinched a playoff spot by beating Detroit on April 4, but have since lost by 29 at New Jersey and by three at Charlotte -- and have rekindled memories of last year's collapse, when they dropped the final four regular-season games and got knocked out of the playoffs by the Pistons.

They were disjointed and clearly seemed to miss Young, their third-leading scorer, in the previous two games but got off to a promising start against the Bulls.

While Young missed his fifth game with a sprained right ankle, the Sixers rediscovered theirs and grabbed a 38-24 lead early in the second quarter.

It didn't last, though.

Trailing 44-34 midway through the quarter, the Bulls jumped back into it with a 14-2 run in which Gordon hit two 3-pointers and Rose and Miller each scored four points.

Gordon sandwiched his 3s around Rose's block on Louis Williams' layup, tying it at 46. And Brad Miller fed Rose for a fastbreak layup after a steal, giving the Bulls a short-lived 48-46 lead with about three minutes left in the half.

Two layups by Andre Miller put the Sixers back ahead before Thomas dunked with 20 seconds left to tie it at 50.

"Once they got their rhythm and momentum, it was difficult to stop them, especially with the home crowd here," Sixers coach Tony DiLeo said.

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