Iguodala, Sixers cruise past T-Wolves 119-97
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The 76ers put together a complete game and blew out Minnesota.
The 76ers were once again missing guard Allen Iverson(notes), who has been out the past four games to tend to his ill daughter. The reserves came through for Philadelphia as Lou Williams (16 points), Thaddeus Young(notes) (15), Royal Ivey(notes) (9) and Jason Smith(notes) (9) helped the team win its fifth straight.
“I liked the way we played for 48 minutes,” Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said. “We didn’t have any lulls like we have seen in the past. We stayed at a high level.”
The game was played before a sparse crowd who braved the area’s second major snowstorm in less than a week. A strong contingent came to see Minnesota’s Wayne Ellington(notes), who grew up in a Philadelphia suburb.
Leading 30-23 after the first quarter, the non-starters sizzled on a 15-0 run to start the second, with Smith scoring nine. Iguodala’s lay-up were only points scored by a starter.
“I just try and give the team as much as I can, come off the bench and give some energy,” said Smith, who had gone scoreless in nine of his past 12 games. “You just have to keep yourself ready for anything.”
The 43 points produced in the second quarter and the 73 points in the half were season highs. Philadelphia scored 40 first-quarter points in an Oct. 31 game at New York, and 71 first-half points Dec. 14 against Golden State.
“I wish I could blame everything on the second quarter,” Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said. “I don’t think we came out and played hard from the beginning. I was disappointed with the effort overall. They played harder than us and we turned the ball over way too much.”
The Timberwolves never led in the game. The Sixers had blown a 17-point, first-half lead in a Jan. 18 game in Minnesota, losing 108-103 in overtime, but continued to press in Philadelphia. A Williams basket late in the game pushed the lead to 27 points, its biggest advantage of the night.
“We had trouble putting teams away in the past,” Brand said. “No disrespect to that team, but we led by 17 in the first half at their place and lost in overtime. To get that kind of revenge win, and blow it out like that is a positive for us.”
At 20-31, the Sixers head to Toronto for a game Wednesday, then come out of the break with games against Miami and Chicago, teams ahead of them for playoff position.
“I have happy we have got a little bit of a wave, but I am not going to be really happy until we get to .500,” Jordan said. “That is the mindset we need. Right now, it’s good that we’re playing with a good personality and a good mindset.”
Though still a long shot, five straight wins can change perspective.
“When you’re four or five games out of the playoffs and you got teams ahead of you that you’re playing, it’s much more feasible,” Brand said. “If we beat those teams, we’re that much closer. This win streak really helps us.”