Cold-shooting Blazers fall to Sixers on the road
PHILADELPHIA — Andre Iguodala scored a season-high 29 points, and Lou Williams had 14 to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their fifth straight victory, 100-79 over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
Iguodala made four of Philadelphia's season-high 11 3-pointers and just missed becoming the first Sixers player to score 30 points in a game this season.
Thaddeus Young made three 3s and finished with 11 points, and Andre Miller scored 12 points. Brandon Roy led Portland with 27 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and nine rebounds.
The Sixers have spent most of this season at the bottom of the league in 3-point shooting (31 percent), but handed the Trail Blazers their worst loss of the season with an 11-for-23 performance.
Portland was without Rudy Fernandez (foot), and coach Nate McMillan said the rookie will likely miss tonight's game in New Jersey. Steve Blake left in the first half because of a separated right shoulder.
All those 3s and that 22-point halftime lead was a needed cushion when Philadelphia opened the third missing shots all over the court. While the Sixers went without a field goal the first 6:27 of the quarter, Portland went on a 10-0 run that helped nudge the deficit to single digits.
The run was short lived and the Sixers blew the game open in the fourth quarter thanks to three 3-pointers, helping the sub-.500 Sixers (18-20) beat their third team with a winning record during this winning streak.
Now comes the tricky part: working forward Elton Brand back into the lineup without messing with the fast-breaking, 3-point shooting team the Sixers have become without him. Brand could be back in the lineup for Friday's game against San Antonio, though Saturday's game at New York seems a more likely bet.
Brand, who hasn't played since he sustained a fracture and tear in his right shoulder on Dec. 17, returned to practice this week.
He might not recognize Miller's style when he gets back.
Miller has become a surprising long-range threat, shooting the 3 like he rarely has before over his 10-year career. The steady point guard hadn't made more than six in a season each of the last four years and made only five this season as of two weeks ago. But his 1-for-1 mark in the first half made him 6-for-7 in the last six games and he has 12 this season. Perhaps coincidentally, Miller is in the final year of his contract.
Part of it, though, has to do with coach Tony DiLeo's goal of Philadelphia making at least five 3s a game. They made four in the first quarter — two from Iguodala — and raced to a 31-15 lead. Williams opened second with another 3, prompting one fan to remark during a timeout "What team are we watching?"
Apparently, the kind of team that has become 3-point happy. DiLeo gave them the green light and the Sixers are flooring it through their longest winning streak of the season.
Samuel Dalembert ended the first half with an out-of-nowhere block and the fans, led by chairman Ed Snider, stood and applauded the Sixers as they left the court with a 55-33 lead. The 33 points was a season low for a first half for Portland.