76ers stun Dallas, 84-76

February 11, 2008 6:41:27 PM PST
Andre Miller scored 21 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their fourth straight win, 84-76 over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.

Miller, named the Eastern Conference player of the week, is a big reason why the Sixers are suddenly thinking about a playoff push. Philadelphia has won the first four games of a five-game homestand and moved a half-game behind idle New Jersey for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Coach Maurice Cheeks openly talked before the game about wanting his team to believe it could reach the postseason. With more games like this one, the Sixers might get there for the first time since 2005.

Andre Iguodala finished with 14 points, including a pair of jumpers during a late 12-1 run that helped the Sixers pull away and earn a rare standing ovation from the home crowd.

Josh Howard led the short-handed Mavericks with 17 points before leaving in the fourth with a back injury, and Dirk Nowitzki added 15.

The Mavericks scored only 23 points in the second half and 10 in the fourth quarter. Dallas missed 13 straight shots from the field spanning the third and fourth quarters.

The Sixers won four straight for only the second time this season, and have won six of eight overall.

The Mavericks could have surely used the offensive production from their missing players. They also weren't helped by the schedule, which had them playing the second night of a back-to-back.

Mavericks forward Jerry Stackhouse (hamstring) and center Erick Dampier (ankle) each missed the game missed because of injuries. Devin Harris also missed his eighth straight game because of a bruised left ankle.

Howard left in the fourth after he collided with Sixers forward Reggie Evans and crashed on his back. He returned after a first trip to the locker room, but a bruised lower back forced him out for good with 7:17 left.

Nowitzki left in the first quarter to stretch his back and stood, instead of sitting, near the Mavericks bench each time he was subbed out.

The Sixers led by two early in the fourth when they ripped off their 12-1 spurt. Lou Williams, who scored 12 off the bench, scored the first two baskets on a runner and a jumper. Williams gives the Sixers energy and production off the bench and he easily darted past the fatigued and undermanned Mavs. Iguodala's 17-footer stretched the lead to double digits.

Miller scored Philadelphia's final nine points of the first half, including a splendid reverse layup and 3-pointer that pulled the Sixers to 53-50 at the break.

Miller had 17 points, five assists and five rebounds by halftime. His steady, unassuming style is one reason why the Sixers are even thinking about the postseason.

Neither team committed a turnover in the first quarter. ... The Sixers' last four-game win streak came Dec. 7-12. ... The Sixers snapped a four-game losing streak to Dallas.