Sixers Breakout Against Kings, Grab Sixth Seed

Written By Roy Burton On Saturday, March 19, 2011
After Friday night's 102-80 victory over the Sacramento Kings, Sixers' coach Doug Collins gave Elton Brand the option to sit out tonight's game against the Portland Trailblazers.

Brand's response? "I’ll be out there. We’re greedy."

Greedy, because the Sixers are inching ever closer to a coveted playoff berth. Friday's win, coupled with the New York Knicks' 99-95 loss to the Detroit Pistons, moved the Sixers into 6th place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Sacramento didn't do much to stand in the way of the 76ers' 36th win of the season. After a slow start, the Sixers got hot early in the opening period, ripping off an 11-0 run to take a 32-23 lead after the first quarter.

Jrue Holiday dominated the game's first 12 minutes, finishing the quarter with 12 points, 3 steals, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.

He and the rest of his teammates pretty much controlled the game from the opening tip. At one point, the Sixers missed eight consecutive shots in the third quarter and still outscored the Kings 25-16 during the period.

Andre Iguodala filled the box score with 13 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds, despite sitting out the final period. And thanks to a great deal of garbage time, the Sixers' bench chipped in half of the team's 102 total points.

Philadelphia finished the game with a season-high 16 steals. On the night, Sacramento turned the ball over 22 times in all, and shot 34.5 percent from the field (29-for-84).

"Great job by our guys tonight," said Collins following the game. "Our defense was tremendous."

The Kings were led by DeMarcus Cousins who, despite his decent numbers (19 points, 13 rebounds), exhibited body language and mental lapses that showed why many thought the Sixers made the right call by bypassing him in last June's draft.

Meanwhile, Evan Turner - the Sixers' actual lottery pick - enjoyed a solid outing, scoring 8 points, grabbing 3 rebounds and handing out 3 assists in nearly 24 minutes of work.

The victory over the Kings was more or less a walkover, but it was important on a number of levels. In addition to moving up in the conference standings, it gave the Sixers a chance at a successful road trip.

The journey began with two lackluster games in Milwaukee and Utah following the Sixers' huge 89-86 win over Boston on March 11. Closing out the five-game swing with three straight victories would be a boost of confidence to a team that has had its fair share of struggles away from the Wells Fargo Center.

They'll go for that third consecutive win without the services of Iguodala, who will sit out against Portland. By missing Saturday's game, it will allow him to rest his ailing right knee for four straight days.

"This morning, I was in pain shooting," Iguodala said after Friday's win. "It is much-needed rest."

If Iguodala was anywhere close to 100 percent, however, he'd be right out there with the rest of the squad. The Sixers are a greedy team right now. And after tasting some success these past few months, they are hungry for more.

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