CHICAGO — Jrue Holiday scored 26 points, Lou Williams added 20 and the Philadelphia 76ers beat Chicago 109-92 on Tuesday night to even their first-round series in the Bulls’ first game since Derrick Rose’s season-ending knee injury.
The superstar point guard received a standing ovation and waved to the crowd as he limped onto the court to present the game ball, then watched from a suite as the 76ers simply blitzed the Bulls in the third quarter.
They outscored Chicago 36-14 in the period, turning an eight-point deficit into an 83-69 lead, and pulled even with the league’s top-seeded team. Game 3 is Friday in Philadelphia.
Holiday was 11 of 15 from the field, and the Sixers shot 59 percent overall. Williams came up big, going 8 of 13 after hitting only 1 of 6 shots in the opener, and Chicago product Evan Turner chipped in with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 21 points and eight rebounds. John Lucas III scored 15 points, but Carlos Boozer scored just nine and Luol Deng finished with eight.
More alarming, the Bulls simply couldn’t stop the Sixers, particularly in the third quarter.
It was a rough night for the Bulls, who insist they have enough to make a championship run even though they lost Rose to a torn ACL in his left knee near the end of Game 1.
Rose missed 27 games during the regular season because of a variety of injuries, and the Bulls did just fine, going 18-9.
KNICKS: Amare Stoudemire’s difficult season might be over.
Stoudemire had a small muscle in his left hand repaired Tuesday and will not play for the New York Knicks in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat on Thursday.
Stoudemire met with a hand specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, a day after he was badly cut when he punched the case surrounding a fire extinguisher after the Knicks’ 104-94 loss in Miami.
The Knicks are listing Stoudemire as doubtful for Game 4 on Sunday.
Stoudemire apologized on his Twitter account for the act.
“We all have done thing out of anger that we regret,” Stoudemire wrote. “That makes us human. Bad timing on my part. Sorry guys. This (too) shall pass.”