After the 76ers let two opponents shoot better than 50 percent from the field in a pair of losses over the weekend, coach Maurice Cheeks could not have been happy tonight when the Sacramento Kings converted on 54.3 percent of their field-goal attempts in the first half.
But a combination of Sixers defense and the weariness felt by Sacramento in the third game of its four-game road trip helped the home team rally and break a two-game losing streak with an 89-82 victory over the Kings at the Wachovia Center.
The Kings shot just 28.9 percent (13 of 45) in the second half and never led again after the Sixers used a 10-0 run in the third quarter to gain the advantage. In their losses over the weekend, the Sixers were touched for 51.3 percent shooting by Charlotte and 52.6 percent by Milwaukee.
Andre Iguodala played a fine all-around game for the Sixers with 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Samuel Dalembert chipped in with 20 points and 17 boards, and Andre Miller accounted for 18 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Kevin Martin paced the Kings with 23 points, and Brad Miller added 21 points and 10 rebounds. Mike Bibby, their third-leading scorer with a 16.8-point average, managed just seven points and shot 3 of 14 from the field.
The Sixers, who had lost five of their previous six games, held a 67-63 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Kings drew into a 71-71 tie on back-to-back baskets by Ron Artest, the second one coming with 8 minutes, 17 seconds to play.
But Sacramento continued to shoot poorly from the field - the Kings converted just three of their first 16 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter - and that enabled the Sixers to gradually pull away.
Miller put the Sixers ahead for good with a driving layup. After Dalembert and Brad Miller exchanged free throws, Kyle Korver drained a three-ball with 5:40 to play. The Kings clung to within five before Iguodala connected on two free throws and sent an alley-oop pass that Dalembert converted to give the Sixers an 85-76 advantage with 2:58 remaining.
The Kings never seriously threatened again.
Former Sixer John Salmons went scoreless in 17 minutes with two rebounds and two assists. Another ex-Philadelphia player, Kenny Thomas, contributed eight points and eight rebounds.
The Sixers trailed by 45-42 at the half but limited the Kings to 7-of-24 shooting in the third quarter and grabbed a 67-63 lead entering the final 12 minutes.
Philadelphia took control of the quarter with its 10-0 run. Miller scored the final six points of the spurt, including a baseline jumper with two minutes to play that gave the Sixers a 62-57 advantage. Brad Miller scored the final six points for Sacramento to keep the game close.
The Kings hit 54.3 percent of their shots from the field in the first half to take the lead at the break. Martin connected on both of his three-point attempts and scored 14 points to lead all players, and Bibby, although he managed only two points, had six assists.
Dalembert led the Sixers at the half with 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Sixers shot only 40 percent in the opening two quarters, including a streak of seven misses late in the first period and early in the second. That led to the Kings' largest lead of the half, 33-24, on Francisco Garcia's layup with 8:43 left in the half.
The Sixers used a 10-2 run to close to within one after Iguodala sank two free throws, but the Kings moved back out in front by seven on two occasions, the final time on Martin's three-point basket that made it 45-38 with 1:34 remaining.
But the Sixers got baskets by Dalembert and Miller to close the gap by halftime.
Dalembert accounted for 10 points and five rebounds in the first quarter, which ended with the Sixers trailing by 27-24. Dalembert and Iguodala each converted three-point plays in a 6-0 run that put the Sixers ahead, 20-17, with 3:16 remaining.
But Martin scored six points - a three-point basket and a three-point play - to get the Kings back in front, and the visitors led by three at the buzzer. Thomas and Miller each scored eight points for Sacramento, which shot 66.7 percent in the quarter.
Notes. Here is the explanation of the Sixers' trade of Alan Henderson to Utah, confirmed by an NBA source:
The Sixers were informed on the eve of last week's NBA trade deadline that the league had miscalculated their payroll and ruled they still were slightly over the luxury-tax figure of $65.42 million. So they dealt Henderson, who is making the veteran's minimum of $1.18 million (the Sixers are responsible for about $700,000), to the Jazz for the right to swap second-round picks, and got under the tax figure.
However, since the option to switch picks belongs to the Sixers, and the Sixers figure to finish with a worse record than the Jazz and thus a better pick, they are expected to decline it. The Sixers do not have their own pick in the second round, but they own New York's.
The Sixers do owe Utah a second-round selection in 2008, which is protected up to pick No. 35. If the Sixers keep the pick, they have to give it up in 2009, when it is also protected up to pick No. 35.