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Miller, Sixers hold off Knicks' rally

Feb 28, 2009 - 5:50 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Andre Miller scored 25 points and Thaddeus Young added 23 as the Philadelphia 76ers started fast and held off a furious rally by the New York Knicks en route to a 108-103 victory on Friday.

Samuel Dalembert had 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Sixers, who swept the Knicks in the season series for the first time since 1985-86, when they took all six matchups.

"It was definitely a good game," Young said. "We enjoyed it and got the season sweep. We were looking forward to that coming in."

Knicks point guard Chris Duhon can't fathom why his team can't put it together against the Sixers.

"It seems we're like Jekyll and Hyde (against the Sixers)," Duhon said. "There's times like the first quarter, we look horrible and they get every get easy shot. Then, we turn it up and we outplay them in the second half.

"So, we just haven't been consistent for four quarters every time we've played them. There's always been a big lull that kind of hurt us."

Philadelphia took a 29-11 lead after the first quarter, during which New York looked dazed and confused. The Knicks did not attempt their first shot of the game until nearly three minutes had come off the clock, committing four straight turnovers.

"We just came out flat," said New York's Nate Robinson, whose team trailed by as many as 22 points in the first half. "We didn't make shots and then they kind of had a dunk contest for a minute. They had a lot more energy and everybody knows that."

"Obviously we got off to a great start, and our defense was very good," Philadelphia interim coach Tony DiLeo said.

Facing a 17-point deficit at halftime, New York made a second-half charge, outscoring Philadelphia, 34-23, in the third quarter and by one point in the final period.

But the Knicks could not fully emerge from that early hole, cutting their deficit to two points on a pair of occasions, including with 2:17 left, when Robinson converted a floater to make it 101-99.

Miller, who entered the paint at will all night, then sealed the win on the next two possessions, when New York could not get the big defensive stop or rebound - the story of the game and season for the Knicks.

"They got back in the game. They fought hard," Miller said. "Our game plan was to go in the pick-and-roll and they started to hit threes. So we made our adjustments."

The slick point guard nailed a tough floater of his own with 1:59 left, then made a hustle play on the Sixers' ensuing possession to all but beat the Knicks back for good.

Miller posted up the diminutive Robinson on the left block and missed a tough fadeaway but was able to run down a loose ball in the lane and was fouled, as New York could not corral the rebound. He nailed to free throws to forge a six-point lead with 41 ticks left.

Newcomer Larry Hughes had his best game with the Knicks, scoring 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting despite entering the game in a dismal slump. Hughes had scored a total of 10 points combined in his first three games as a Knick.

"I thought he was really good," New York coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He's kind of the guy that we envisioned when we went and got him. We're just really happy for him. He shot the ball well."

"It's all about getting a rhythm," Hughes said. "I know myself by the third game, actually this is the fourth game that I would start to feel normal and get a little pop back in my step and in my jump shot, and that is exactly what it felt like."

David Lee collected 17 points and 11 rebounds - his 22nd straight double-double - for New York, which has scored more than 100 points in 19 consecutive games - its longest streak since the 1988-89 season (39 in row).

Despite scoring 100-plus against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, New York suffered a similar loss, coming from behind but not over the hump.

"We've had two games in a row where we haven't gotten off to the best starts," Lee said. "We've been playing on our heels a little bit, and that's frustrating to have that happen at home."

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