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76ers pull away late to beat Kings 89-80

AP - Sports
76ers pull away late to beat Kings 89-80
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PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 1: Thaddeus Young #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to the basket against …

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Make it a double for the Philadelphia 76ers. Yes, the Sixers really can string together a winning streak.

Thaddeus Young had 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday scored 21 to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to an 89-80 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

Nick Young scored 20 points to help the Sixers win consecutive games for the first time since they had a three-game winning streak from Nov. 25-30.

''Two in a row. Finally,'' coach Doug Collins said.

It was a long wait for the Sixers - 62 days since they last went 2 for 2. The Sixers beat Washington and the Kings this week for the rare winning streak. The Sixers won for only the fifth time in 14 games and eighth in 25.

The Sixers beat Phoenix, Dallas and Charlotte in the last three games of November the last time they had a streak. They go for three straight Monday against Orlando.

''We're just coming out with all kinds of energy,'' Nick Young said. ''We made that one of our priorities. But when we get up, we've got to keep the lead.''

The Sixers blew a 17-point lead in a loss to Memphis on Monday night and nearly wasted a 19-point cushion against the Kings.

Early in the fourth, Thomas took advantage of Nick Young's foul on his 3-point attempt, sinking all three from the free-throw line and giving the Kings their first lead of the game, 73-72.

Thaddeus Young, their most valuable player this season behind Holiday, pushed back the Kings with consecutive jumpers that sparked a 10-0 run and put the Sixers back in control. Nick Young's three-point play made it a 12-point game and the Sixers had a double-digit lead they would not waste.

The Sixers had two five-game losing streaks since they last won back-to-back games.

''I guess we like to make it hard on ourselves,'' Holiday said.

Tyreke Evans scored 29 points and Isaiah Thomas had 24 for the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins had 12 points and 12 rebounds. The Kings have lost six of seven and fell to 1-3 on a six-game road trip.

''We've got great talent, we know we can play with anybody,'' Evans said. ''We've just got to be ready every night.''

So in control in third, the Kings missed 11 of their first 12 shots in the fourth, costing them their chance at their biggest comeback win of the season.

The Kings started running in the third - and nearly ran away with a big rally. Cousins and Evans did most of the damage, hitting short jumpers around the basket or dunking the Kings from the big deficit to only five down. Spencer Hawes made an ill-advised pass into the paint that was picked by Francisco Garcia and fed to a streaking Evans for a dunk, cutting it to 66-63.

Evans scored 13 points in the third and Thomas had 10 that whipped an 18-point hole early in the quarter to only a 72-68 game at the end.

Cousins, averaging a double-double on the season, had gone the last four games without one. Evans and Thomas combined to shot 18 for 36 from the floor. But Kings missed nine of 10 3-point attempts and had no answer for Thaddeus Young on the boards.

The Kings made 11 of 20 shots in the third, only to miss 15 of 18 in the fourth, hardly a recipe for victory.

''We got back into the game, but didn't control it,'' Kings coach Keith Smart said.

The Sixers continued their run of fast starts, making 12 of 20 shots to open the game and build a lead they would keep until the early fourth. Thaddeus Young and Holiday each scored 13 in the first half to help the Sixers stretch the lead to 19 and take a 54-39 lead into halftime.

''Sometimes the game comes too easy, you start missing shots, and before you know it, they're back in the game,'' Nick Young said.

Notes: 76ers G Damien Wilkins returned to the team after a brief absence for personal reasons. ... 76ers G Jason Richardson sat out again with an injured left knee. ... Sacramento is 12-12 at home and 5-18 on the road. ... Evans is from nearby Chester, Pa. ... The Sixers outrebounded Sacramento 47-35. ... The Kings are 4-27 when trailing at halftime. ... Each team leaned on their starting five: Sacramento and the 76ers both scored seven bench points.

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