76ers win third straight game, beat Bobcats

January 9, 2009 6:47:18 PM PST
Andre Miller scored 22 points, Thaddeus Young had 15 and the Philadelphia 76ers won their third straight game, 93-87 over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night. The Sixers have rapidly put a dreary road trip behind them and won their third game this week to get out of last place in the Atlantic Division and into the Eastern Conference playoff race.

They beat the Rockets, won at Milwaukee, then used a 14-2 run in the third quarter Friday night to pull away from the Bobcats.

Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams each scored 12 points and the Sixers had the fast-break edge, 20-4.

Emeka Okafor had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats. While the Sixers haven't been favored in too many games this season, they made a costly early-season habit of losing to teams worse than them. They lost once already at Charlotte, at Minnesota and were beaten at home by the Pacers.

Philadelphia's shooting percentage hovered around 60 percent through three quarters, they had another big scoring day off the break, and one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league sank a couple of big ones.

Miller made one to end the third quarter and even Iguodala made one late in the first half and immediately followed with a 20-footer to pull the Sixers to 45-43 at halftime.

Okafor made his first seven shots (for 14 points) and didn't miss until midway through the third quarter, helping put coach Larry Brown in position to beat Philadelphia nine months after he quit as the team's executive vice president.

But Samuel Dalembert and Young finished off a couple of alley-oops during the decisive run that put the Sixers ahead 61-54. Miller capped it with a nifty play when he knocked the ball away from Boris Diaw, Willie Green grabbed it and fed a streaking Miller on the other end for the easy basket and a 61-54 lead.

The emphasis on more 3-point shooting and a return to the fast-break style of play in the 13 games since DiLeo took over has seen the Sixers average 99.4 points compared to 99.3 under former coach Maurice Cheeks.

Charlotte closed within six in the fourth, only to watch the Sixers go on a 10-3 run to close it out.

Notes: Bobcats G Raja Bell played after missing the last five games with a groin injury. ... Hours after Charles Barkley announced he was taking a leave of absence from the broadcast booth, the 76ers aired a Sir Charles highlight video as part of their 60th anniversary celebration. ... "The Partridge Family" star Danny Bonaduce was at the game. ... Brown still lives in the Philadelphia area and hasn't stopped supporting the local teams. "Now we have a World Series championship and maybe even a Super Bowl. It's pretty neat," he said.