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Sixers dominate boards, hand Knicks another blowout loss

Dec 9, 2007 - 4:39 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- With a huge night on the glass, the Philadelphia 76ers now have their first winning streak of the season.

Reggie Evans only needed three quarters to record another big rebounding effort against the New York Knicks, and the 76ers completed a sweep of the home-and-home series with a 105-77 rout Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Willie Green led the 76ers with 18 points. Andre Iguodala added 17 for Philadelphia, which had followed its first five victories by losing three games decided by five points or less.

Philadelphia finally broke through with one of its best rebounding performances of the season, finishing the contest with a 47-27 edge. The 76ers had 28 by halftime, which contributed to their 12-point edge and then had a 36-20 advantage, helping them to a 75-57 lead through three.

"That was big," Evans said "It was contagious."

"Our big men were playing solid defense inside," added 76ers guard Andre Miller, who finished with 11 points and 10 assists. "So that gave us opportunities to rebound the ball and when you got Reg setting the tone with 10 rebounds in the first quarter and I think everyone picked up on that and we just went on from that."

The big rebounding margin turned into one of Philadelphia's best defensive showing of the season. The 76ers held an opponent under 80 points for the second time this season and to a season low in rebounds, surpassing the 30 they gave up against Portland on November 16.

"Our rebounding was great," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "I thought Sam (Dalembert) and Reggie at the start of the game the way they rebounded the ball (was great). When you rebound the ball, you get in the open court and put the ball in Andre Miller's hands and Andre Iguodala's hands. When you get in the open court we can be pretty good. But we must rebound the ball and get stops."

Evans led the way with 12 of his 14 boards at the break, which were two fewer than he had in Friday's 101-90 home win over New York when he recorded his first double-double. He did not need to play in the fourth as Kyle Korver hit three straight 3-pointers to officially turn the game into a rout early in the quarter.

"We got motivated because we heard a couple of things after the game how they would be ready for us," Evans said. "So we wanted to be ready. So it really kind of motivated us. It definitely motivated us and it showed tonight."

Korver's 3-point barrage was part of a 24-10 run highlighted by Miller's steal of Nate Robinson and behind-the-back pass to Jason Smith, who dunked it for an 83-57 cushion with just over nine minutes to play.

The rebounding also impacted things offensively for the 76ers. They fell seven points of their season best and their second-best shooting performance of the season at 53.1 percent (43-of-81).

"Not only that, we were making shots," Philadelphia guard Lou Williams said. "We were making shots the whole game and one of the things we have been stressing is come out the second half with the same kind of intensity we do (in) the first half."

Philadelphia finished with its fourth double-digit edge in rebounding and had it by the end of the first and a 28-12 advantage at halftime.

"Sam and Reggie, those guys did a great job," Green said. "I think Reggie had 10 rebounds in the first quarter. They frustrated Eddy (Curry) and Zach Randolph and I think they really set the tone for us on defense with rebounding the basketball and kind of taking those big guys out of the game."

In a game in which the Sixers rarely trailed, they briefly lost control as Jamal Crawford's 19-footer put New York in front 27-26 with 9:39 remaining in the second. Philadelphia tied it on its next possession and closed the half with a 23-10 run.

The Sixers took the lead for good with a pressure defense that forced New York into turnovers on three straight possessions. They converted and never trailed after Williams intercepted Jared Jeffries' pass and dunked with 8:44.

When Philadelphia was not grabbing rebounds, it was forcing turnovers. It forced 18 giveaways resulting in 24 points and its second-most lopsided win of the season.

Stephon Marbury played his first home game since the death of his father on Sunday. He finished with six points and New York's backcourt of Marbury and Crawford were a combined 4-of-17 from the floor.

"We definitely lost our way a little bit," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "We have to work ourselves out of it. I don't remember having a game where you don't have one starter in double figures. We just have to work. That is the only way we will get out of the situation that we are in right now."

The Knicks were led by Robinson's 25 points but got limited production from Curry and Randolph. After taking one shot in the first half, Curry scored six while Randolph took just three shots and scored two points.

"It is pretty tough," Curry said. "It has been a while since I felt like this."

Knicks owner Jim Dolan returned to his customary baseline seat near New York's bench after not appearing at the last four games. He watched his team shoot 36 percent (25-of-70) Thomas hear more loud chants calling for his termination.

The Knicks dropped to 6-13 for the third straight season and also were handed fourth loss by at least 25 points.

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