for this game

Sans Brand, Sixers topple Pacers

Feb 6, 2009 - 4:08 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- After learning that Elton Brand would be lost for the season, the Philadelphia 76ers went out and made a case that they could be more cohesive without the expensive free agent forward.

Willie Green scored 23 points and the 76ers put the clamps on the Indiana Pacers in the third quarter before holding on for a 99-94 victory Thursday.

"It was a good win to get us back. We really needed that game," Sixers coach Tony DiLeo said. "It was important because Indiana is a tough game to play. When they get their confidence and start hitting their shots, they are hard to stop."

Philadelphia came out strong and held a 29-22 lead after one quarter. The Pacers battled back and took a 56-54 lead at halftime.

The 76ers came out and blitzed Indiana in the third quarter, throttling the Pacers and allowing just 13 points while nearly doubling Indiana's total with 25. The 76ers enjoyed an 80-69 advantage after three.

"Our defense overall, and especially in the third quarter was real good," DiLeo said. "We wanted to come out and get them out of their rhythm and we were able to do that."

In the topsy-turvy contest, Indiana made a run in the final 12 minutes and closed within 91-89 with less than three minutes left.

Green delivered a jumper to double the lead.

After Mike Dunleavy hit a pair of free throws, Samuel Dalembert threw down a basket off an alley-oop from Andre Iguodala to open the gap to 96-91. Dalembert had 18 points and 20 rebounds.

Iguodala, who finished with 20 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, then was fouled after grabbing a rebound and sank two foul shots to open the gap to seven and seal the victory.

DiLeo knows other players will have to step up with Brand gone for the season due to right shoulder surgery.

"The players that we have are going to have to step up," the coach said. "Players like Marreese Speights and Reggie Evans are going to have to step up. Other players who we haven't called as much might get called upon. We have to continue on and we have confidence in those players. Everyone has to pick it up for Elton because it is a big loss."

Dunleavy led the Pacers with 21 points.

"We missed too many open looks," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We're usually a good shooting team and by our accounts we missed 31 open looks, and that was the difference in the game."

Pacers star Danny Granger was bothered by an aching knee and scored 18 points.

"I felt like it just hurting me and bothering me," said the forward, who was 6-of-15 from the field but only 1-of-7 from long distance. "I just really couldn't do anything."

Granger wouldn't use the knee as an excuse for the loss.

"They just made more stops, and we didn't make shots," he said. "We cut it to two and couldn't get it past that point. It was right there, but that's how it goes."