for this game

Iguodala, Miller lead Sixers past Nets

Mar 23, 2008 - 4:00 AM By Vince DiGregorio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) - The Philadelphia 76ers turned out to be the team to rebound after a disappointing loss.

Andre Iguodala had a game-high 28 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists as the 76ers outlasted the New Jersey Nets, 91-87, at the Wachovia Center on Saturday.

Andre Miller added 20 points and Louis Williams scored 15 for Philadelphia, which defeated New Jersey for the first time in three meetings this season.

Samuel Dalembert had 11 points, a game-high 18 rebounds and five blocks for the Sixers (35-35), who are one-half game behind the idle Toronto Raptors (35-34) for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets (29-41), on the other hand, are on the outside looking in at the playoff race - 1 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Hawks (30-39) for the eighth and final spot in the East.

Philadelphia was clinging to an 86-85 lead in the final minute with New Jersey in possession. Nets center Josh Boone appeared to have an easy look at the basket with 38 seconds left, but Dalembert blocked his layup attempt.

"I blocked it with the left hand," Dalembert said. "I tipped it, so the ball stayed in the air. We were able to go after the rebound and push it (up court)."

Iguodala was fouled on the Sixers' next trip up court and hit two free throws to make it 88-85 with 22.5 seconds left.

"As long as (Dalembert) continues to dominate the paint and let guys know he's there (by) either making them miss a shot or block a shot, it's gonna be a huge help to us," Iguodala said.

Vince Carter had a chance to tie it for the Nets but missed a 3-pointer from the right side with 17.9 left. Iguodala responded with two more free throws to give Philadelphia a five-point advantage.

"(Carter) is their go-to guy," Iguodala said. "Tonight, he did a great job of just keeping them in the game. That's Vince Carter. He's been doing it for the last nine years."

Carter then was allowed to go in for an uncontested dunk before Miller hit a free throw for the final margin.

Philadelphia was coming off a 113-95 blowout loss at Orlando on Friday, while New Jersey dropped a 123-114 home contest to Denver on the same day.

"I thought after both teams (played Friday), it was going to be a tough game for both teams," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "It was just a game we had to grind out."

"Losing two in a row really hurts us right now," Carter said. "(It) puts us in a hole. Every game is important."

The Sixers trailed by seven points to open the fourth quarter when they went on a 10-2 run to go up, 78-77, after two free throws by Williams with 8:30 left.

Williams later hit a jumper to give the Sixers the lead for good at 81-80 with 6:30 left.

"I was just one of the guys that came off the bench and was able to spark it," Williams said.

The Nets appeared to take command of the contest early in the third quarter. After Iguodala opened the second half with an alley-oop dunk to give the Sixers a 51-42 lead, New Jersey used a well-balanced attack to go on a 24-7 run and take a 66-58 lead with 4:10 remaining.

Carter had six points during the spurt and his dunk with 1:02 left in the third gave the Nets their largest lead at 75-66. New Jersey led 75-68 after three quarters.

"We got down by nine and actually came back and won the game, which shows a lot," Iguodala said.

"We had a real good third quarter," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "Our zone seemed to disrupt them. Then, in the fourth (quarter), their press really hurt us and things got switched. The third quarter was ours, the fourth was theirs."

Neither team was able to establish control from the outset until late in the first quarter. With the score tied at 19-19, Dalembert and Miller scored to give Philadelphia a 23-19 lead after one period.

It became an 11-4 run for the Sixers into the second quarter as Williams hit a 3-pointer and later sank two free throws to give Philadelphia a 30-23 advantage.

The Nets answered with a 9-2 burst of its own to tie the score, 32-32, when Marcus Williams capped the spurt with a 3-pointer.

However, Miller helped the 76ers regain control as he hit two foul shots. Philadelphia outscored New Jersey, 17-7, down the stretch to take a 49-42 lead at halftime. Miller led all scorers with 14 first-half points.

Carter scored 27 points while Devin Harris and Nenad Krstic added 14 apiece for the Nets. Richard Jefferson had 11 but made just 3-of-15 shots from the field.

"I wouldn't say we fell apart, but we might have had a couple of lapses," Jefferson said.

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