Philadelphia defeated Sacramento 109-103 on Tuesday night as the Sixers continued to push the idle Nets for the top spot in the division. Allen Iverson scored 41 points and Chris Webber added 17 against his former team.
The victory put the team over the .500 mark for the first time since Jan. 3, when it was 16-15.
The 76ers had the advantage of facing a Kings team that was missing Peja Stojakovic, who wasn’t in the lineup in anticipation of being traded to Indiana for Ron Artest. That deal appears to have collapsed.
Philadelphia’s point total was its highest in five games. The Sixers are third in the NBA in scoring at 101.3 points per game, but are allowing 102.2, third-most in the league.
“Obviously we have been playing good enough defense to win basketball games, but we still need to get better,” Iverson said. “Not just on the defensive end, but also on the offensive end we need to improve. Sometimes we need to slow it down and get the best shot available.”
The 76ers will be taking on a Magic club that despite its terrible play on the road, can win its fifth in a row Thursday. The Magic, winners of seventh straight at the TD Waterhouse Centre, managed a victory at Charlotte on Friday to break an eight-game road losing streak.
Orlando is coming off a 111-102 home victory over Phoenix on Tuesday night, giving it a season high for consecutive wins. Hedo Turkoglu scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half to help the Magic hold off a late run by the Suns.
Orlando’s home winning streak has followed a 5-9 start on its home court.
“Home wins are huge, no doubt about it,” Magic coach Brian Hill said. “We got excellent contributions from everybody at some point in the game and I was obviously pleased with our defense at the end. Phoenix is a tough team to defend.”
Orlando had one of its best shooting nights of the season against Phoenix, connecting on 54.7 percent from the field and going 5-of-10 from 3-point range.
“I was feeling good, but it was teamwork that made it happen tonight,” Turkoglu said. “We helped each other all night. We executed well, we knew who was hot, we just put it all together.”
Lately, the Magic player who has been hot is Turkoglu. He is averaging 25.3 points in his last three games after scoring just 12.1 in the first 36. He shot 12-for-17 from the floor and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc against the Suns.
Philadelphia and Orlando split their season series in 2004-05. The 76ers have won four of the last five meetings in Philadelphia.