In order for the Sixers to snap their two-game losing streak, coach Doug Collins was looking for his team to produce a lot more energy than they had in their losses to Milwaukee and Utah.
He got it, and provided a little more himself as the Sixers dusted off the Los Angeles Clippers, 104-94, Wednesday night in front of a sold out crowd at Staples Center.
Collins was given two technical fouls in a very short time period in the second quarter, costing him his first ejection of the season. Not long after he left the court with 15.8 seconds remaining in the first half, his team did the same, leading the Clippers by just three points at 49-46.
Collins' outburst certainly jolted his team. They played a terrific third quarter, spearheaded by great ball movement which led to 12-of-18 shooting from the floor, outscored the Clippers by 30-19 and grew the lead to as many as 18.
"It definitely riled us up," said guard Jrue Holiday of his coach's ejection. "Coach took a hit for us. The least we could do was win the game. We came in (to the second half) enthused and energetic. With ten minutes left until halftime was over, we were out there ready to warm up. We were definitely excited to get out there and fight for coach."
Holiday was instrumental in the victory, posting 20 points and nine assists,
The win improved the Sixers to 35-33 and tied them with the Knicks for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Jodie Meeks led the Sixers with 22, while Elton Brand collected 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Lou Williams had 14 off the bench and Spencer Hawes chipped in 12.
Clippers rookie phenom Blake Griffin, who electrified this city during All-Star weekend less than a month ago when he competed in the rookie-sophomore game on Friday, won the Slam Dunk contest on Saturday and competed in the All-Star game on Sunday, has slowed down lately. He entered last night’s game averaging 17.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and 44.6 percent from the floor in the month of March, all below his season averages of 22.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and 50.4 percent.
Last night he was pretty much a non-factor, as he didn’t score his first basket until there was 4 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first half. He was often out of control on his drives, which usually ended up in crazily missed shots. He finished with 14 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:26 left.
"It was a great win, we needed this win," said Brand, who was booed continuously by the Clippers' fans. Brand spent seven seasons with the team before signing with the Sixers. "It was fun. They didn't boo me every time I touched the ball."
The boos were mainly for the home team, who fell to 26-43. Former Villanova star Randy Foye led the Clippers with 20 points, while center DeAndre Jordan scored 16 and grabbed 15 rebounds. The Clippers made just 18 of their 34 foul shots, with Griffin and Jordan combining to go 12-for-25.
The Sixers will play the Sacramento Kings on Friday, then head to Portland for a game against the Trail Blazers on Saturday.
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