Dalembert, both Andres lift 76ers past Pacers

February 5, 2009 6:54:06 PM PST
Samuel Dalembert had 18 points and 20 rebounds, and Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala also had double-doubles to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 99-94 win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night. The Sixers won only hours after they learned power forward Elton Brand needed season-ending surgery on his right shoulder. The Sixers improved to 11-8 this season without Brand, an encouraging sign their playoff push will continue without their $80 million man.

More games like this one will help. All five starters reached double-digits in scoring by the fourth quarter and the 76ers held off the pesky Pacers to avoid a third straight fourth-quarter meltdown.

Miller had 13 points and 12 assists, while Iguodala had 20 points and 11 assists to help the Sixers snap a two-game losing streak.

Mike Dunleavy led the Pacers with 21 points, and Danny Granger and Jarret Jack each scored 18 as Indiana dropped its third straight.

The Sixers wanted a strong showing on their seven-game homestand to throw them in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. They opened with a win, then lost in two of the most agonizing ways any team can lose. They missed their final 18 shots from the floor and coughed up a fourth-quarter lead in a loss against New Jersey. Then they led the entire fourth against the NBA-best Celtics until Ray Allen won it with a 3-pointer with five-tenths of a second left.

Philadelphia nearly blew it again against Indiana.

The Sixers opened the fourth with an 11-point lead and watched it quickly whittle away. Troy Murphy scored on a driving layup and Dunleavy followed with a 3-pointer to pull Indiana within two.

Dalembert, though, went up strong under the basket for a basket and Miller added a layup to make it a six-point game and give the Sixers some breathing room down the stretch. The often-erratic Dalembert abused Indiana down low and was only two rebounds shy of his career high.

All the Sixers needed out of Dalembert with Brand around was for him to block shots and rebound. Now they really need him to score and he delivered a bruising 6-for-13 effort from the floor and 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

The Sixers seemed to put the disappointment of losing Brand, who's having surgery Monday, behind them. All the Sixers got in the first year of a five-year, $80 million contract from Brand was 13.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in only 29 games.

Thaddeus Young has blossomed while starting at power forward in Brand's absence. Philadelphia hopes rookie Marreese Speights and veteran Reggie Evans can fill some of those minutes at the four spot.

Speights was scoreless in 7 minutes, but wasn't really needed. Dalembert had 14 defensive rebounds - or as many as the other starting four combined. With Miller and Iguodala leading the way, the Sixers had 26 assists on 34 baskets.

Granger scored 11 points in only 1:05 to cap a stunning 21-2 run that put Indiana ahead by nine in the second quarter. The Sixers came right back at the end of the half with a 12-2 run to slice the deficit to 56-54 at the break.

Notes: Pacers coach Jim O'Brien was whistled for a technical foul in the fourth. ... The 76ers are 15-10 since Tony DiLeo replaced Maurice Cheeks. ... The Sixers don't play on the road again until Feb. 17 at Indiana.

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