The struggling Philadelphia 76ers hoped getting rid of two of their most disgruntled players would enable them to start winning.
After finally reaching the 10-win plateau, the Sixers look to win back-to-back games for just the third time this season when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday.
Philadelphia (10-26) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 110-97 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. The Bucks had a 14-point lead early in the second half, but Philadelphia made 13 of 18 shots from the field in a third quarter where it outscored Milwaukee 38-24 to take command.
“There was an energy from everyone, there was an urgency from everyone,” coach Maurice Cheeks said. “Everyone had to push their game up a little bit.”
It was the first game for the 76ers since waiving veteran forward Chris Webber on Thursday. Webber, who had been unhappy about his role on the team, missed 11 of 14 games before Philadelphia bought out his contract. His departure came a month after star guard Allen Iverson was traded to Denver.
Iverson was the team’s leading scorer with 31.2 points per game before being dealt, but Philadelphia had no problem finding other sources of points on Friday. Andre Iguodala scored 26 points—going 13-for-13 at the free throw line—and added six rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Willie Green took advantage of his first start since Dec. 23, scoring a game-high 30 points - his most in a game in two seasons.
“We need a little something else and obviously he gave it to us,” Cheeks said.
The Sixers are hoping to take advantage of an easier stretch in the schedule. Five of their next six games are against teams with losing records, the lone exception being a Jan. 21 home meeting with the San Antonio Spurs
Philadelphia, however, has only won once in its last four meetings with the Bobcats (11-23), who are beginning a three-game homestand. The Sixers are also just 5-18 on the road this season.
The Bobcats are seeking their first three-game winning streak since closing last season with four victories in a row. They defeated the New York Knicks 126-110 on Friday, their fourth win in the last six games. Derek Anderson led Charlotte with 29 points, while Emeka Okafor added 20 points and a career-high 10 blocked shots.
Charlotte shot a franchise-record 59.3 percent from the field and scored 76 points in the second half to break the game open.
“I think the way we executed our offense in the second half and hit shots in the second half was probably the best we played probably this year,” said Matt Carroll, who scored 23 points.
Charlotte and the Atlanta Hawks hold a two-game lead over the 76ers for the worst record in the Eastern Conference.