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Bulls Rumble Their Way By 76ers

Toni Kukoc got back on the floor. Keith Booth and Charles Jones got extended playing time. And Mark Bryant? He got physical Tuesday night.

All played key roles for the Chicago Bulls as they broke a four-game losing streak with a 91-81 victory over the suddenly slumping Philadelphia 76ers.

"Confidence just comes with the opportunity to play," Booth said after setting career highs with 16 points, nine rebounds and and six assists.

"When guys like Ron Harper and Randy Brown are down, it gives guys like Charles Jones and myself our chances."

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  • Kukoc, out three games with a sore back, returned to score 26. Jones, a rookie who was the nation's scoring leader a year ago at Long Island, added a career-high 15 in his first NBA start.

    Allen Iverson led the Sixers with 27 points, but it wasn't enough to stop Philly's fifth loss in six games. Coach Larry Brown is still looking for his 900th professional coaching victory, dating back to the ABA.

    Bryant, meanwhile, was ejected after his hard foul on Philadelphia's Matt Geiger prompted a scuffle. Geiger, who had scored Philly's first eight points in the fourth quarter, was also thrown out.

    "I don't want to talk about that," Bryant said.

    With 6:03 left, Geiger went up for a layup and Bryant wrapped his arm around Geiger's neck. Geiger shoved the arm away, and the two went after one another before being separated. They were assessed double technicals and thrown out.

    The Bulls led 77-70 at the time.

    "Bryant plays physical. I try to play physical," said Geiger, who had 14 points and seven rebounds before being tossed.

    "I thought he came down with his arms a little too much. Instead of making a play on the ball, he came down on top of me and hit me with an elbow on the back of the head. I just tried to let him know I'm not going to take tht and kind of turned around and pushed him to get him off me. I grabbed him and you saw the rest."

    Booth, who shot 8-of-11, had a previous career high in points of eight. He shot 1-for-10 in a loss at Toronto on Sunday.

    "When you come off a game like that, you really just can't wait to get back out there," Booth said.

    He hit two jumpers to start the fourth quarter and then passed to Brent Berry for a basket as the Bulls opened a 70-62 lead. Jumpers by Bryant and Kukoc pushed the lead to 11 with eight minutes left.

    Geiger sank two jumpers and Iverson drove for a basket to make it 75-70. But Bryant hit a jumper just before he was ejected, Dickey Simpkins made a free throw after a flagrant foul on Tyrone Hill and Kukoc scored for a 10-point lead.

    NOTES: Harper missed his fifth straight game with a sprained right knee. Brown was sidelined a second straight game with a sprained right ankle, allowing Jones to start. Bulls rookie Corey Benjamin missed the game with turf toe.. ... Iverson has scored in double figures in 42 straight games.. ...The 76ers had won the first two meetings with Chicago this season by 18 and 16 points.

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