Houston at Philadelphia

76ers get within one win of playoffs, beat Rockets

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

PHILADELPHIA -- The 76ers' freefall to the bottom of the Eastern Conference was short-lived. A year after one of their worst seasons in more than a decade, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and the Sixers are a win away from the playoffs.

Jrue Holiday had 24 points and 12 assists, and Thaddeus Young scored 22 points to lead Philadelphia to 108-97 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

The Sixers can clinch a playoff spot with one more victory or one more loss by the Charlotte Bobcats. The Sixers can secure a spot at home Friday vs. New Jersey; Charlotte plays at Orlando the same night.

More on Rockets at 76ers
Related links
Video

Iguodala had 10 assists and the Sixers had 30 of them on 46 baskets. He scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds in another game where he found ways to contribute even as he's bothered by various knee and hamstring injuries.

Sixers coach Doug Collins said Iguodala will need two months of rest before he is completely recovered. It's a break Iguodala hope doesn't start for a few more weeks -- or months.

"If I feel like I can play, if I feel like can contribute in any way, I'll go out there and play," Iguodala said. "I'm just trying to be unselfish. Obviously, it takes away from my aggression at times."

The Sixers won only 27 games last year and fired coach Eddie Jordan after one season. Collins was hired out of the TNT broadcast booth and, after a rough adjustment, has the Sixers among the top teams in the NBA over the last few months.

Spencer Hawes and Jodie Meeks each scored 12 points for the Sixers, who hit the 100-point mark for the 11th time in 15 games.

"One step closer, 39 wins now, which is fabulous," Collins said.

Western Conference
SeedTeamGB
1o-Dallas-
2x-Denver-
3x-Golden State-
4x-Houston-
5y-L.A. Clippers-
6x-L.A. Lakers-
7x-Memphis-
8o-Minnesota-
Still alive
10z-Oklahoma City-
14y-San Antonio-
Eliminated
9o-New Orleans-
11o-Phoenix-
12o-Portland-
13o-Sacramento-
15o-Utah-
Complete Playoff Race >>

Kyle Lowry led the Rockets with 19 points and Kevin Martin had 18. Luis Scola scored 17 and Chase Budinger 15.

The Rockets cruised in a 112-87 win over New Jersey on Tuesday night, moving them within two games of eighth-place Memphis in the West, but their playoff push took a hit down I-95.

"We've got to win every game from here on out, it's as simple as that," Lowry said. "It's pretty much do-or-die right now."

Young gave the Sixers a serious scare after a hard fall in Monday's 97-85 win at Chicago. Collins thought Young blew out his knee, but it was a strained groin, not severe enough to keep him out of the lineup - or affect his shooting. Young made 11 of 19 shots, all around the basket, and fell a rebound shy of a double-double.

Young scored the first two baskets during a decisive 10-2 spurt early in the fourth. His short hook late in the game put the Sixers up 102-90 and secured their second straight victory against a team with a winning record.

The Rockets made 21 of 22 free throws; the 76ers 11 of 12.

The Sixers kept pace with Houston's potent offense in the first half, then kept knocking shots down in the second as Houston faded in the fourth.

The Sixers have no All-Stars and their four-month rise in the Eastern Conference standings from a 3-13 start has been all about teamwork in the starting five and major contributions off the bench. Both were on display against Houston.

In the first quarter, the Sixers had 12 assists on 14 baskets. Young continued his push for recognition as one of the league's top sixth men, and reserve guard Lou Williams scored 15 points.

"We have a lot of guys who can come off the bench and score at will," Young said. "We don't need guys to come in and score 20."

The Sixers are so balanced that they have six players averaging double-digits in scoring. But leading scorer Elton Brand (14.8 entering Wednesday) is tied for only 52nd in the league.

The Rockets will need wins and some help to make the playoffs. Lowry, the former Villanova standout who was cheered in pregame introductions, is trying to lead them there.

Lowry has stopped playing as a drive-only guard and worked to become more of a deep-ball threat. Rockets coach Rick Adelman called Lowry the team leader and "kind of the reason we turned this thing around."

He showed a little bit of both in his return home. He hit his first three 3-point attempts and a running jumper to end the first half that put the Rockets up 55-52.

Lowry also showed his grit on a high-flying act over Houston's bench as he went for a loose ball and nearly tumbled into the stands.

Lowry's next 3 in the third stretched Houston's lead to 76-70. The Sixers rallied and Williams' 3 at the end of the quarter gave them an 84-82 lead.

Notes

  • Philadelphia's 12 assists in the first were the most in any quarter this season.
  • Young outscored the Rockets bench 22-20.
  • Holiday has 12 double-doubles this season.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Jrue Holiday can't be stopped as he leads the 76ers with 24 points and 12 assists in their win over the Rockets. (US Presswire)
Jrue Holiday can't be stopped as he leads the 76ers with 24 points and 12 assists in their win over the Rockets. (US Presswire)

Scoreboard
Houston (39-36)3322271597
Philadelphia (39-36) «31213224108
HOU:K. Lowry 19 Pts
HOU:C. Budinger 9 Reb
HOU:C. Hayes 7 Ast
PHI:J. Holiday 24 Pts
PHI:T. Young 9 Reb
PHI:J. Holiday 12 Ast
Players of the Game
HoustonPhiladelphia

Chase Budinger

Jrue Holiday
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
159424212
Houston
C. Budinger, SF434-146-794315
C. Hayes, PF393-82-28708
K. Lowry, PG356-142-233319
K. Martin, SG346-135-513218
L. Scola, PF298-161-163217
P. Patterson, PF213-62-25108
C. Lee, SG181-50-01302
G. Dragic, PG132-43-32118
J. Hill, PF61-30-03012
M. Harris, SF10-00-00000
D. Carroll, SF10-00-00000
B. Miller, CDid Not Play
Y. Ming, CDid Not Play
H. Thabeet, CDid Not Play
T. Williams, SGDid Not Play
Totals 34-8321-2238251297
 41.0%95.5% 
Philadelphia
A. Iguodala, SG373-82-281029
J. Holiday, PG378-127-7212224
J. Meeks, SG355-90-141212
S. Hawes, C346-120-071312
E. Brand, PF284-70-04128
T. Young, SF3311-190-090122
L. Williams, SG226-122-245215
A. Nocioni, SF143-60-03036
T. Battie, PFDid Not Play
D. Songaila, PFDid Not Play
J. Kapono, SGDid Not Play
M. Speights, PFDid Not Play
C. Brackins, PFDid Not Play
E. Turner, SGDid Not Play
Totals 46-8511-12413017108
 54.1%91.7% 
Other Games
Orl 82 Final
Atl 85
Det 101 Final
Ind 111
Mia 123 Final
Wash 107
Mil 104 Final
Tor 98
Cle 97 Final
Char 98
NJ 116 Final
NY 120
Port 91 Final
NO 95
Chi 108 Final
Min 91
GS 91 Final
Mem 110
Sac 90 Final
Den 104
OKC 116 Final
Pho 98
Dal 106 Final
LAC 100