PHILADELPHIA – Spencer Hawes scored 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds and hit the go-ahead jumper late in the fourth quarter to help the Philadelphia 76ers rally to beat the Chicago Bulls 79-74 on Friday night and take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.

Hawes scored 10 clutch points in the fourth to give the eighth-seeded Sixers the series lead. Game 4 is Sunday in Philadelphia.

Already playing the rest of the series without reigning MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls got another scare in the third quarter when Joakim Noah left with a sprained left ankle. Noah, who scored 12 points, returned in the fourth quarter and mostly hobbled around the court.

The Sixers scored only 11 points in the third quarter and trailed by double digits early in the fourth before taking off against the battered Bulls.

Hawes keyed the surge and buried two free throws to make it 71-70 with 3:28 left.

After getting crushed on the boards all game, the Sixers scooped up a loose ball rebound and hit the open court, only to have Andre Iguodala miss a long and unnecessary 3-point attempt. Iguodala, bothered by right Achilles’ tendinitis, chucked the ball off the backboard to the dismay of a crowd that has seen him do that too many times to count.

Nursing a one-point lead, Noah missed two free throws giving the Sixers new life.

Hawes hit a 20-footer for a 72-71 lead and Evan Turner made two free throws for a three-point lead with 1:24 left.


BUCKS: Sen. Herb Kohl confirmed that General Manager John Hammond and Coach Scott Skiles both will be back, with no contract extensions imminent. But Kohl spent much of a nearly hour-long session with reporters making the case that the Bucks need a plan in place for a new arena.

The 77-year-old Kohl said he doesn’t have any immediate plans to sell the team.

MAGIC: Forward Ryan Anderson was awarded with the league’s Most Improved Player honor. In his fourth season since being taken 21st in the 2008 draft out of California, Anderson started 61 of 66 games during the shortened regular season and led the league in 3-pointers made (166) and attempted (422). He joins Rashard Lewis as the only other power forward to lead the league in 3-pointers made. He averaged career highs in points (16.1) and rebounds (7.7).