PHILADELPHIA - His coach called Jrue Holiday's slump "0 for the world."
Even as the misses piled up, Holiday never felt the weight of it on his 21-year-old shoulders. All he could do in a thorny Game 4 was laugh about his struggles with teammate Evan Turner.
"You've got to be happy when you play," Holiday said. "It really helps."
Boy, did it help Philadelphia in the final minutes against Chicago. Holiday busted out of a game-long slump with consecutive 3-pointers that stretched a one-point lead into seven and helped the 76ers beat the Chicago Bulls 89-82 on Sunday and take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.
"Don't fear the consequences," 76ers coach Doug Collins said.
It's the top-seeded Bulls who suddenly fear elimination.
Spencer Hawes scored 22 points and Holiday had 20 to put the Sixers one win away from joining the short list of eighth-seeded teams that have won a series against a No. 1 seed.
Andre Iguodala had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers, who have won the last three games after losing Game 1.
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The short-handed Bulls played without Derrick Rose (torn ACL) and Joakim Noah (sprained ankle). Rose is out for the season and Noah is day to day for the rest of the series.
In NBA postseason history, the eighth seed has won a first-round series against the No. 1 seed four times, including last season when Memphis eliminated San Antonio. Golden State (2007), New York (1999) and Denver (1994) also pulled off the rare feat.
"I'm not worried about it," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I'm just worried about the next game. We do have more than enough to win with."
The Sixers won three straight playoff games for the first time since Allen Iverson fueled their run to the 2001 NBA finals.
Holiday was sensational down the stretch after a rocky first 3 1/2 quarters. He missed his first five 3-point attempts until he nailed one to make it 77-73. He hit another the next time down for a seven-point lead to the delight of a roaring sellout crowd.
They were easily his biggest shots on a 7-of-23 night.
He expects to hear the same noise in the next round.
"We have to play like it's Game 7," Holiday said. "We want to win in Chicago."
The undermanned Bulls kept at it and refused to use playing without their two biggest impact players as an excuse. C.J. Watson, who scored 17 points, hit a step-back jumper to make it a two-point game.
In a whistle-happy game, Holiday went to the line with 51 seconds left and made both for an 84-80 lead.
Suddenly - and shockingly - the Sixers are a win away from taking a playoff series for the first time since 2003.
Carlos Boozer had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls. Taj Gibson chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Without a full roster, the Bulls barked at the refs, talked trash on the court and used every self-motivational tactic they knew to gain an edge on the Sixers.
Noah, injured in Game 3, took charge on the bench as head cheerleader. Wearing a protective walking boot, he clapped, cheered and offered instruction in the timeout huddle. Noah was needed more on the court than as a de facto assistant coach.
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