Surging Sixers cruise past SpursJan 17, 2009 - 4:39 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Not even the mighty San Antonio Spurs could put a stop to the Philadelphia 76ers' sudden hot streak.
The Sixers extended their winning streak to six games Friday night and did so without breaking much of a sweat, roaring past the Spurs for a 109-87 triumph.
"This team has some heart around here," Sixers point guard Andre Miller said. "We're playing good basketball. Everybody is playing well off each other, making passes, having each other's back on defense, and that is big."
Thaddeus Young scored a career-high 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting and Andre Iguodala added 21 and eight assists to lead Philadelphia's offensive attack that has suddenly found its stride this month. The Sixers struggled to consistently put points on the board for most of the season's first two months but are averaging about 104.0 points over their last six.
"It is coming from our defense," Miller said of his team's renewed production. "We started to force some turnovers, got some rebounds and got some banks. Anytime you can get out there and get some easy baskets, it's in your hands."
Nursing a seven-point lead early in the third, the Sixers took control with a 14-4 run, with Young and center Samuel Dalembert doing most of the work. Young sparked the run with a short jumper and added another a few possessions later, while Dalembert - not known as a scorer - connected twice from short range and added a dunk for six of his eventual eight points.
"I'm just going out there and focusing and playing basketball," Young said. "I'm getting easy shots at the baskets and trying to get into transition. We had everybody on the same page where everybody was getting buckets and they were playing defense. When we do that, everybody is having fun."
Even when the Sixers essentially had the game in hand, they refused to let up. Already with a comfortable 15-point advantage in the final session, they engineered a 12-2 run to extend the lead to 101-74. Rookie forward Marreese Speights kicked things off with a 17-footer and Young finished it with a tip-in off Lou Williams' miss.
"We're making that one extra pass at the end of our plays and the guys cut through," Iguodala said. "That one guy cutting through opens up a lot of things. That single cut helps our offense get more movement and setting up our guys to score."
Philadelphia took a 10-point lead after the first quarter, closing the frame with a 9-0 flurry capped by Iguodala's 3-pointer at the buzzer. But the Spurs answered right back in the second, staging a 14-0 spurt to take a two-point edge.
"They hit a couple of shots and they were able to get back in the game," Miller said. "We had a decent lead but no lead is safe when you play a veteran team. The main (thing) was that we played with energy."
The Sixers quickly returned the favor. Royal Ivey put them back on top - this time for good - to spark an 11-0 run. This time around, they wouldn't let San Antonio back - at least not all the way.
"They played great all night," Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. "They pushed the ball up the floor. ... Just all in all, they outplayed us."
San Antonio pulled to within as close as three late in the first half, but Philly caught fire from the perimeter to reclaim control.
Williams knocked down a 3-pointer to double the lead, Young added another with 22 seconds remaining and Iguodala beat the buzzer again - this time from halfcourt as the Sixers went into the break with a bit of added momentum and a 54-47 lead.
"The first one Lou was open and he called for the ball," Iguodala said of his buzzer-beaters. "I looked up and saw that there wasn't enough time so I let it go and it felt good. The second one, I thought that I needed to get some lift and it just went down."
The Spurs were off-target for most of the night, connecting on just 36.5 percent (31-of-85) from the floor. Manu Ginobili was just 3-of-11 and Michael Finley went 1-of-9.
Duncan was one of the few bright spots, posting 20 points and 12 boards for the Spurs.
"Our defense was too inconsistent to maintain anything and they stayed aggressive the whole game," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They are the best in the league in the fast break. We're supposed to be a pretty good defensive team, but it hasn't looked liked it for a while."
SAN ANTONIO 87
PHILADELPHIA 109 FINAL
Jan 16 9:21 PM
SAN ANTONIO 70
PHILADELPHIA 85 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 16 8:53 PM
SAN ANTONIO 47
PHILADELPHIA 54 HALFTIME
Jan 16 8:08 PM
SAN ANTONIO 18
PHILADELPHIA 28 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 16 7:35 PM
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