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Iverson leads Sixers past Bulls for third straight win

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Allen Iverson was challenged by coach
Maurice Cheeks during the All-Star break to become more of a leader
on the court, share the ball and take over when needed.

It looks like the former MVP not only listened, but is
interested in following through on the plan.

"We tried it different ways in the first half of the season and
now we just have to do it the way Mo Cheeks wants it done every
night," Iverson said.

Iverson scored 14 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter, Andre
Iguodala had 20 and Kyle Korver 19 to lead the Philadelphia 76ers
to their third straight win, 108-102 over the Chicago Bulls on
Saturday night.

"We just need everyone to contribute," Iverson said. "We feel
like this is a whole new season for us."

The Sixers (28-27) haven't lost since the All-Star break and
moved a game over .500 for the first time since Feb. 4. They also
have moved ahead of Milwaukee into seventh place in the Eastern
Conference playoff standings.

With Philadelphia playing without starters Chris Webber (flu)
and Samuel Dalembert (sprained ankle), Iverson helped make up for
their absence with his fourth 30-point game in the last six.

When the Bulls rallied in the fourth quarter on Chris Duhon's
3-pointers, Iverson pushed them back with some big baskets of his
own. When Duhon hit a 3 early in the fourth, two baskets by Iverson
gave the Sixers a six-point lead. After Duhon's second 3 of the
quarter again pulled the Bulls within one, Iverson sank a jumper
and a 3.

After the Bulls cut the gap to four in the final minute,
Iguodala swiped the ball and was fouled on the fast break, sinking
two free throws for a 102-96 lead. The Sixers then sealed the win
from the line. They sure were comfortable from there, sinking 43 of
57 attempts. The Bulls went 18-for-20.

Iverson scored 30-plus points for the 36th time this season and
barely missed his 12th 40-point game. The NBA's second-leading
scorer has made 30 of 64 shots during the winning streak.

"These three games, he's been phenomenal," Cheeks said.

The recently demoted Korver struggled at first coming off the
bench, but has been strong since the break. Coming off his
career-high 31-point game a night earlier against Milwaukee, Korver
hit consecutive 3-pointers during a 12-0 spurt at the end of the
third quarter for an 81-74 lead.

"This is a game where, if you're going to get serious about
what you're going to do this season, you've got to lay it all on
the line in the third quarter when we have a chance to win," Bulls
coach Scott Skiles said. "We just looked out of it. We looked out
of it most of the night."

The demotion so affected Korver that he skipped the chance to
participate in the All-Star weekend 3-point contest and went home
to clear his head and focus on the second half.

"I really needed to get away," Korver said. "I'm back now.
I'm not trying to force it. I'm not trying to prove I belong in a
certain spot."

Iguodala, the Rookie Challenge MVP, went over the 20-point mark
for the second time this week, though he got the bulk of his points
by going 11-for-15 from the free throw line. Still, the Sixers need
consistent scoring from more than Webber and Iverson to make a
playoff push and these first three games have been a small,
promising step toward that goal.

Shavilk Randolph had eight points and a career-high 13 rebounds
for the Sixers, who were much more competitive than the last time
they played the Bulls in the final game before the All-Star break.
The Sixers had their most lopsided loss of the season that night,
117-84.

Duhon led the Bulls with 17 points, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng
each scored 15, and Malik Allen had 13.

"We had chances to win, but the whole game, we couldn't stop
them," Duhon said.

Defense was a mere afterthought in this one, with Iverson
scoring 22 points in the first half, Allen and Gordon combined for
27 and the Bulls shot 50 percent from the floor to grab a 59-57
lead.

Game notes
Dalembert said he hoped to return for Wednesday's game at
Houston. He's listed as day-to-day. ... No. 1 Duke beat Temple
74-66 in a game played earlier in the day at the Wachovia Center.
Three former Blue Devils played in the nightcap. ... The Sixers
used their ninth different lineup.