76ers top Kings to earn first back-to-back wins since November
The drought, at last, is over.
The 76ers, in search of back-to-back wins for what has seemed an eternity, defeated the Sacramento Kings on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center, 89-80, giving the team its first two-game winning streak in more than two months.
Before Friday, the Sixers (20-26) hadn't won games in succession since sweeping a trio of games against Phoenix, Dallas, and Charlotte from Nov. 25 to 30.
The only team in the league to have a longer such stretch is Charlotte, which started an 18-game losing streak the same week the Sixers last won back-to-back games before Friday night.
To secure the win, the Sixers needed big games out of Thaddeus Young (23 points, 15 rebounds), Jrue Holiday (21 points, 7 assists, and 8 turnovers), and Nick Young (20 points). The game marked the third time in the last five games that the Sixers have had three players score 20 or more.
But the Sixers, who defeated woeful Washington on Wednesday, had to overcome the complacency that has been a problem for them.
Bumbling their way through a stretch of the third and fourth quarters, the Sixers allowed the Kings (17-31) a 34-14 run. That surge turned what had been a cozy, 58-40 lead into a 73-72 Kings advantage and had the crowd of 17,927 fearing the worst with 10 minutes, 35 seconds remaining.
But a 17-2 Sixers run, capped by a Holiday layup with 3:56 remaining, killed any hope that the Kings might earn their sixth road win of the season.
"We sure don't make things easy, do we?" Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "We got off to a decent start in the third quarter, and then we just started throwing the ball around."
Collins said the insertion of the team's "better defensive players" - such as Royal Ivey and Lavoy Allen - proved to be the difference down the stretch. They helped hold Sacramento to just 12 points in the fourth quarter.
"We started hitting shots, and they were missing shots," Holiday said when asked what turned the game in the Sixers' favor down the stretch. "They got a lot of fast-break points in the third quarter. We kind of cut that out with our defense down the stretch. We played defense down the stretch really well."
The Kings were led by Chester's Tyreke Evans, who led all scorers with 29 points. Backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas added 24 points for the Kings (17-31), losers of six of their last seven games.
The win came in the third game of a season-long eight-game homestand for the Sixers, who host Orlando on Monday. They are 2-1 on the stand, their lone loss coming against Memphis in a game they led by 17 points.
"Overall it's a good win for us," Thaddeus Young said. "We'll take it and try to go out and get this next one. We let one get away, but it feels like we are starting to turn a corner."
Contact John N. Mitchell at email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.