Philadelphia (35-33) at Sacramento (16-50)

By NOEY KUPCHAN, STATS Writer Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 Tipoff: 10:00 pm EDT Fri Mar 18, 2011

After suffering back-to-back losses to open their trip, the Philadelphia 76ers defeated one of the weaker teams in the Western Conference the last time they took the court.

A meeting with the last-place Sacramento Kings could help Philadelphia in its quest for sixth place in the East, and the 76ers will try for a sixth consecutive victory in the series Friday night.

Philadelphia (35-33) had won seven of nine on the road prior to losing to Milwaukee and Utah to begin its five-game trip.

The 76ers, vying with New York for the sixth seed in the conference, allowed an average of 107.0 points in those two losses but used a strong defensive effort Wednesday night to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 104-94.

Coach Doug Collins’ team forced 17 turnovers and held Los Angeles to 4-of-13 shooting from 3-point range en route to its 11th win in 12 games when holding opponents under 100 points.

“It was a tough game but we had to have it. We had lost two in a row and we felt like we are a better team than to lose two in a row,” said Elton Brand(notes), who had 19 points, 12 rebounds and a season high-tying five blocks. “We had to have this game and we got it.”

Collins was ejected right before halftime after picking up his second technical foul.

“I just thought I had to stand up for our guys and they were great,” he said. “They responded. We talked at halftime about how important this game was to get a road win and break our two-game losing streak.”

Guard Jodie Meeks(notes), who had 22 points Wednesday, has gone 9 of 16 from long distance in his last two games. Meeks averaged 9.5 points over his first 50 contests but has scored 14.9 per game over his last 10.

“Jodie Meeks has been great,” Brand said. “He didn’t even dress at the start of the season, so for him to hit these big shots and play the way he’s been playing, it’s been great for us.”

Philadelphia, 5-8 on the road versus West opponents, has outscored the Kings by 16.0 points during its five-game run in the series.

Sacramento (16-50) fell 97-93 to NBA-worst Cleveland on Wednesday night for its seventh loss in eight games.

The Kings had averaged 105.9 points over their previous eight matchups but shot just 38.0 percent. Sacramento has dropped eight straight and 29 of 33 when scoring less than 100 points.

Marcus Thornton(notes) had 23 points after scoring a career-high 42 in Monday night’s 129-119 win over Golden State.

“To see that we played so well against Golden State and then to lose like this hurt,” said Thornton, averaging 24.0 points in his last nine games. “It hurts, but it’s the NBA. We have to put it behind us and get ready for Friday. We have a good Philly team coming in.”

Samuel Dalembert(notes) will be facing the 76ers for the first time since being traded to Sacramento in July. The 6-foot-11 center, who spent the first eight seasons of his career in Philadelphia, registered a career-high 27 points to go along with 16 rebounds versus the Warriors.

He scored 16 and grabbed 10 boards Wednesday, and is averaging 19.7 points— 12.3 more than his season mark—and 11.3 rebounds over the past three games.

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