76ers 89, Kings 82
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—These are the kind of performances from their developing nucleus that give the Philadelphia 76ers optimism for the future.
“We need to do that every night,” Miller said.
Dalembert scored 20 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, and Iguodala had 22 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to an 89-82 win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
The Sixers used a 12-5 run late in the fourth to put away the Kings and snap a two-game losing streak. Miller added 18 points and Joe Smith chipped in with a pair of buckets down the stretch that pushed back the Kings.
The Sixers want to build around Miller, Dalembert and Iguodala, and hope three first-round draft picks, including a lottery selection, can put them back in the playoffs before long.
“I love the things that we’re doing with the development of our young guys,” coach Maurice Cheeks said. “I love coaching them. They go out on the floor and do the things that we ask them to do.”
Kevin Martin followed his 35-point game against Indiana on Sunday night with 23 points against the Sixers. Brad Miller had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Ron Artest added 13 points. Artest was back in the starting lineup after missing the Kings’ game against the Pacers for personal reasons.
Philadelphia is making a push to finish .500 at home this season, a rare bright spot in an otherwise dismal season. The Sixers improved to 11-15 at the Wachovia Center on the first of a six-game homestand. It was another tiny crowd, but it was an appreciative one, standing and clapping for the Sixers throughout the final minute.
Led by Dalembert, the Sixers finished with a whopping 55-40 edge on the boards. Dalembert and Smith combined for 18 defensive rebounds. The Kings also were stymied offensively after they averaged 104 points in their last four games.
The Kings finished 1-3 on their four-game road trip.
“I’ll take the blame for this one,” said Kings coach Eric Musseleman. “I have to do a better job teaching rebounding. It’s my fault. We need to get back to teaching.
Dalembert, Iguodala and Miller carried the Sixers, especially in the second half. Those three starters combined to shoot 23-for-42 from the floor to offset the Kings’ strong start.
The Sixers opened a five-point cushion on Miller’s driving layup and Kyle Korver’s 3-pointer late in the fourth. In the play of the game, Iguodala shook off Artest, froze Miller and dunked to make it 79-74. Smith followed with a 20-footer for a seven-point lead.
“We need to focus every single night, have that energy, and do it on defense,” Iguodala said.
The Kings made 12 of their first 18 shots and led 45-42 at the break. The Sixers got six points from Miller during a 10-0 run late in the third that gave them a 62-57 lead.
Artest said there was still time for the Kings to make something of this season.
“Coach is having a tough time with all these losses,” Artest said. “We’ll come around. We felt confident tonight, but in the NBA, any team can beat any other team.”
This time, it was Philadelphia’s turn.
John Salmons played his first game in Philadelphia with the Kings after four seasons with the Sixers. Salmons needed directions to the visitor’s locker room. Salmons, a Philly native, said he needed two tickets and 22 guest passes. “When I came over on the bus, it started hitting me when I saw the Wachovia Center,” he said. … Once estranged, Kings guard Mike Bibby and his dad, Sixers assistant Henry Bibby, smiled and laughed as they walked together to Sacramento’s bus. The two then hugged before Mike the arena.