PHILADELPHIA - The first order of business for the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night, said coach Doug Collins, was to stand up to the Indiana Pacers.
"Their feeling is that they're the bigger, stronger team and they can bully us," Collins said. "Sometimes it's nice if you can do some of the hitting and not the receiving."
Sixers center Spencer Hawes landed the most telling blows for Philadelphia, generating 18 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and seven blocked shots in his team's 98-91 victory over the Pacers.
"You know coming in, this is going to be one of the more physical teams," said Hawes, whose rebounding and block totals were career highs. "I think last time they took advantage of us in that area (en route to an 88-69 victory over the Sixers on Feb. 6), and I think this time we were more up for the challenge."
Jrue Holiday paced the Sixers (25-40) with 27 points, 20 of those coming in the first half, and added 12 assists. Evan Turner notched six of his 11 points in a 19-4 run over the first 6:15 of the fourth quarter, when Philadelphia turned a one-point deficit into a 90-76 lead.
The Sixers, who also saw Dorell Wright and Thaddeus Young contribute 13 points apiece, won for just the second time in the last eight games and the third time in 16.
Roy Hibbert had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana (40-26), which dropped its second straight. David West and Paul George added 18 points each. George also had 14 rebounds and eight assists. George Hill scored 13 points.
The Sixers trailed 72-71 after three quarters. But Lavoy Allen opened the fourth-period scoring with a tip-in, and Dorell Wright hit a 3-pointer. Allen and Wright each added another bucket in the decisive run, which also included four by Young.
In the fourth quarter, George said, the Pacers "just died."
"We died on plays," he said. "It's as simple as that."
The Sixers finished the night with 14 blocked shots, equaling a season high and matching a team record in the Wells Fargo Center, while limiting the Pacers to 38.6-percent shooting. Hibbert was just 9-for-26 from the floor, while George went 6-for-17 and Hill 5-for-15.
Philadelphia shot 49.4 percent from the floor.
Collins called it "another gratifying night" for his team, adding, "We're playing a really good team basketball. The ball's moving. Everybody's sharing. We're getting high-percentage shots, and everybody's having fun."
Added Pacers coach Frank Vogel, "They moved the ball really well. It was primarily orchestrated with Holiday just creating, getting us into more (defensive) rotations than we're used to. And Hawes shared it well as well."
Hibbert countered Holiday's first-half explosion by scoring 14 points, including the last four in a 7-0 run at the end of the second quarter, as the Pacers assumed a 49-48 halftime lead.
The lead changed hands six times in the third quarter, the last time when George Hill sank a 3-pointer with 34.6 seconds left in the period to give Indiana a 72-71 advantage.
Hibbert had nine points in the period, while Damien Wilkins countered with eight of his 12 for the Sixers.
NOTES: The Pacers were coming off Friday's home loss to the Lakers, a game in which Kobe Bryant played only the first quarter because of an ankle sprain. "I think our guys were a little too amped up," Vogel said. "I think our adrenaline got the best of us." ... Indiana forward Danny Granger, who has played just five games this season because of a knee problem (and none since March 3), was again inactive. ... The Sixers are amid a tough stretch in their schedule, having playing Brooklyn and Miami earlier this week, with road games against the Clippers and Nuggets looming next week. "With our group, we've played some of our best basketball against the better teams," Collins said, "and we've had some tough nights against some teams where you look at their records and you say, ‘You're supposed to beat those teams.' " ... Young began the night averaging 19.3 points in March, more than any other month, and said it was a blessing in disguise when he sat out six games last month with a hamstring pull. "Right now, I kind of have more energy than everybody else," he said, "because everybody's been playing, and I haven't."