Sixers lose 5th in a row, fall to Rockets 93-87

HOUSTON (AP) - February 22, 2012

Kevin Martin scored 16 points and Patrick Patterson added 12 off the bench for the Rockets, who've won three in a row and snapped a four-game home-court losing streak to Philadelphia.

Nikola Vucevic scored a career-high 18 points and Thaddeus Young had 15 for the 76ers, who will head into the All-Star break on a five-game losing streak. The 76ers lost for only the second time in their past nine meetings with Houston.

Philly was held without a 3-pointer for the first time this season, missing all nine attempts. The Rockets went 5 for 18 from 3-point range, with all but one of the makes coming in the second half.

The lead changed hands five times in the final five minutes before Lowry drove into Vucevic for a layup, drew the foul and made the free throw for an 86-84 lead. Louis Williams made a free throw with 1:38 remaining, but Lowry then converted another three-point play with 59 seconds left to make it 89-85.

Williams slipped on the baseline in front of the Houston bench, the 76ers' 13th turnover, and the Rockets hit their free throws in the last minute to preserve the victory.

Lowry also had eight rebounds and Chandler Parsons scored 12 points for the Rockets. Williams scored 17 points for the 76ers.

Both teams shot poorly early, and neither had scored 10 points midway through the first quarter. Lowry left four minutes into the game and limped to the locker room with athletics trainer Keith Jones.

Houston found its shooting touch first and took a 19-16 lead. Lowry returned to the bench with Jones in the last minute of the quarter, and was back on the floor for the start of the second.

The bad shooting and sloppy offense continued, with the Rockets leading only 28-27 with less than six minutes left before the break. At that point, Vucevic had 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting, while the rest of the 76ers had 17 points on 7-of-26 shooting.

Philadelphia also had five turnovers in the second quarter to fuel a late Rockets' spurt. Goran Dragic hit a 3-pointer early in a 13-4 burst and Houston built a 10-point lead. The 76ers answered with a quick 8-2 spurt to trail 45-41 at halftime.

The Rockets picked up the offensive pace in the third quarter, stretching the lead to eight points. The 76ers attacked Houston's small lineup inside, answering with a 10-0 run that gave them a 56-54 lead.

Houston went cold late in the third quarter, and mustered only 16 points on 7-for-17 shooting. The 76ers scored 14 of their 24 third-quarter points in the paint and led 65-61 heading to the fourth.

Martin swished back-to-back 3-pointers near the nine-minute mark to keep Houston within three. After Thaddeus Young scored inside, Martin hit another 3 and Patterson scored to tie it at 75-all.

Notes: The Rockets have won 24 consecutive games when holding their opponent to less than 90 points. ... Lowry missed his first free-throw attempt, after making his previous 25. ... The 76ers dropped to 7-2 in the second game of back-to-back sets this season. ... Philly coach Doug Collins couldn't give a timetable for Spencer Hawes' return from a left Achilles strain. Collins said Hawes will visit a doctor in Los Angeles during the All-Star break and wear a protective boot.

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