76ers 117, SuperSonics 83.

March 8, 2008 7:32:27 PM PST
Andre Iguodala could tell in warmups that Samuel Dalembert had extra energy for Seattle, dunking the ball "like 10 times in a row," and playing with enthusiasm.

All Dalembert wanted to do was "get the fun back."

Dalembert and the 76ers are having plenty of fun right now as one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

Dalembert matched a season high with 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Philadelphia to its eighth straight home victory, 117-83 over the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday night.

"It's been a little while since I had fun. It's been a little while since I enjoyed myself," Dalembert said. "I'm just trying to go back to that same way no matter what happens. Winning is our goal, but sometimes you have to try to look for the fun."

Dalembert didn't have too look very hard, making 10 of 11 shots from the floor and recording his 19th double-double. He scored 16 points in the first half and most of his buckets came on easy dunks or off lob passes around the basket.

"I just love the way we're playing," Dalembert said. "We're winning basketball (games) so that's most important."

Iguodala and Thaddeus Young added 18 points apiece for Philadelphia, which has long forgotten about a 5-13 start. The 76ers have won three straight overall and 11 of their last 14 games to move into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

The Sixers are 1½ games behind Washington for sixth. The Sixers openly rooted for Toronto to knock off the Wizards as they watched the game in the locker room.

"Let's go Raptors!" bellowed Sixers forward Reggie Evans.

They might have to root a little harder next time. The Wizards won 110-106 in overtime.

Chris Wilcox scored 20 points and Kevin Durant scored 10 of his 14 points in the first quarter for the SuperSonics, playing the fourth game of a seven-game road trip.

"We did a very poor job as coaches, players, all of us," Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "That was just a terrible effort tonight."

Philadelphia returned home after winning the final two games of a three-game West Coast road trip, including a 119-114 win at Phoenix that perhaps made the Sixers fans believe a bit more a playoff push was possible. The Sixers entered 28th out of 30 teams in attendance, averaging 13,113 fans in 30 home games, though most games no more than about 6,000 or so show up.

The Sixers drew about a legit 15,000 of the 17,762 announced crowd to watch the Sixers win a game with every starter scoring big buckets. At one point late in the third quarter, starters Miller, Evans, and Willie Green all had 10 points, Iguodala had 16, Dalembert 18 and the Sixers led by 14 points.

"We are feeding off each other and not just forcing one guy to score," Iguodala said.

The Sixers, looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2005, opened up the game early in the second quarter.

Iguodala and Lou Williams each hit 3s for a 43-27 lead. They were the only 3s of the quarter for the Sixers and they shot 59 percent from the floor in the half.

Jason Smith blocked a shot and Young converted the loose ball into an easy basket on the other end that helped the Sixers take a 61-52 lead into halftime.

Dalembert was 7-for-8 in the half.

"When he's hyped up like that, I know he's going to have a big game," Green said.

Iguodala made it 76-62 midway through the third on an emphatic dunk in the open court off a pass from Green. They pulled away from there as slumping Seattle could never slow down the pace.

Up ahead at home, a visit from Eastern Conference leading Boston on Monday night. The Celtics will try to snap Philadelphia's longest home winning streak since the 2002-03 season.

Notes: Dalembert said his once-strained relationship with coach Maurice Cheeks has improved this season. Dalembert said the two made peace before the season started and the center is now as happy as he's ever been with the Sixers. Still, he wished the organization would hire a true big man coach and Dalembert believes he'd be "way better" if there was one. ... The SuperSonics are 6-25 on the road.