76ers 99, Suns 94
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Samuel Dalembert was so physically dominant Wednesday night that even his teammates were complaining.
“You elbowed me like four times tonight,” Sixers forward Kenny Thomas told Dalembert.
Dalembert threw plenty of elbows while patrolling the paint, blocking three shots and grabbing a career-high 10 offensive rebounds.
“How big was Sammy tonight? Sammy was outstanding,” interim coach Chris Ford said. “I don’t know how many blocked shots he had, but he certainly changed a lot of shots and was just relentless on the boards.”
Iverson was out because of a sore right knee and was not on the bench during the game. Philadelphia moved to 6-1 in its last seven games without Iverson. When second-leading scorer Glenn Robinson also is out, Philadelphia is 8-2.
“Our mind-set is that we have to play every game like it’s our last,” Dalembert said. “That’s what we did tonight. Everybody stepped up, so I was really excited.”
Johnson, coming off a career-high 31-point performance, made 11 of 21 shots and had eight assists. He had eight straight points on a 3, a layup, a free throw and a jumper to put the Suns ahead 74-60 with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter.
The Sixers then chipped away and cut the lead to two points with 4:25 remaining in the game on a layup and a free throw from Snow. After a steal by Willie Green, Kyle Korver nailed a wide-open 3 from the corner to give Philadelphia its first lead of the second half.
Green, who had 18 points, made a 19-footer on the next possession to close out a 19-4 run.
Phoenix got three straight free throws to pull within two points with 24 seconds remaining, but Snow sank two foul shots and stole the ball from Johnson at the other end of the floor. Snow was fouled and hit one more free throw to close the scoring.
The Sixers were 14-for-15 from the line in the final quarter. Thomas and Snow combined to make 22 of 25 in the game.
“Veteran leadership,” Ford said of Snow’s final minute. “He just made the big plays for us, made some great defensive stops, took a charge, got in there and dug out some loose balls.”
Phoenix shot a season-high 57 percent in Tuesday’s win over Cleveland and remained hot early against the Sixers.
Johnson missed his first two shots, then sank six straight. The Suns shot 63 percent in the first quarter and went 20-for-37 in the first half to lead 53-45 at the break.
But the Suns appeared sluggish during the second half, shooting 37 percent as the Sixers turned up the defense and energy.
“For us, it’s about experience,” Marion said. “It’s about closing out games. When we get a lead, we have to learn to keep it for the whole game.”
The Sixers won their fifth straight at home and are 7-2 in Philadelphiasince Ford took over for Randy Ayers on Feb. 11. ^Notes: Phoenix C Jake Voskuhl missed his fifth consecutive game with a left foot injury. … Sixers F Marc Jackson (left foot stress reaction) underwent an MRI on Monday and was fitted for a hard cast. Interim coach Chris Ford said Jackson, who missed his 47th game of the season, probably will miss the rest of the regular season. … After scoring a career-high 21 points in Monday’s win over Dallas, Sixers guard John Salmons had eight. … Marion and Stoudamire combined to go 17-for-18 from the line. … Of their remaining 10 games, theSixers play seven at home and just three against teams at or above .500.