76ers 104, Trail Blazers 93
Even coming from behind, they made it look easy.
Brand scored a season-high 25 points and had nine rebounds in a reserve role as Philadelphia rallied to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 104-93.
“We attacked. That’s really all it was. We attacked,” Brand said.
Philadelphia (8-22) shot 75 percent during the third quarter and made 26 of 40 shots after halftime as the Sixers wiped out Portland’s 10-point lead in the third quarter.
For the game, Philadelphia made 57.7 percent from the field (45 of 78). The Blazers shot 42.2 percent (35 of 83).
Brand, a former All Star, hit 11 of 16 shots in 30 minutes. Allen Iverson(notes), returning to the lineup after missing the past four games with a knee injury, made 7 of 11 shots and scored 19 points. Marreesse Speights hit 7 of 8 shots and was one of three Sixers to score 14 points.
The return of Iverson appeared to give Philadelphia a boost. Iverson’s first game since Dec. 16 wasn’t easy for the 34-year-old guard.
“Once I got my second wind I was all right. The first couple minutes I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest,” said Iverson, who in 31 minutes also handed out five assists and collected four rebounds.
Philadelphia lost three of four games with Iverson sidelined.
“Having Allen back helps. He’s a finisher. He can get to the line and get the ball to guy at the right time. We’ve missed that,” Brand said.
Portland (20-13) came into Monday’s game having won four consecutive games, all against teams with winning records. Only Minnesota (7-24) and New Jersey (2-28) had worse records in the NBA than Philadelphia.
Brand thought Portland looked past the Sixers.
“If you look at our record, it’s easy to overlook a team like us. But we’re talented and this is what can happen,” Brand said.
Portland coach Nate McMillan, noting that the Blazers gave up 60 points inside the paint and 61 second-half points, was disappointed with his team’s lack of urgency after its recent play in wins over Miami, Dallas, San Antonio and Denver.
“We were a step slow all night long. The movement, the ball movement, setting the screens. I didn’t think we got to our tempo,” McMillan said.
Portland controlled the second quarter to take a 49-43 halftime lead. The key stretch came midway through the quarter when, with the game tied 36-36, Roy and Dante Cunningham(notes) combined to score nine unanswered points to give the Blazers a 45-36 lead.
Portland stretched its lead to 61-51 midway during the third quarter before Philadelphia made its move. The Sixers went on a 13-4 run, then capped the quarter when Royal Ivey(notes) hit a buzzer-beating 22-footer to give Philadelphia a 77-73 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Sixers continued their surge during the final period. Over a 13-minute stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters, Philadelphia outscored the Blazers 40-17 to take a 91-78 lead with 6:05 left in the game. The Sixers led by as many as 16 points.
NOTES: Philadelphia has won three straight over Portland and five of its past six over the Blazers. Iverson, acquired by Philadelphia on Dec. 5, is averaging 16.1 points in six games with the Sixers. Since Nov. 11, Philadelphia is 4-18. Roy has scored at least 23 points in 13 consecutive games. It is the longest active streak of 20-point plus games in the NBA. Portland committed a season-low seven turnovers against the Sixers.
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