76ers defeat Rockets to end five-game losing streak

Posted: January 13, 2013

Yes, the 76ers are still capable of putting together a complete game, and the one they delivered on Saturday at Wells Fargo was much needed.

The 76ers led for most of the second half on the way to avenging an earlier loss to the Houston Rockets last month, beating the Rockets 107-100 at Wells Fargo Center. The win ended a five-game losing streak.

Losers of 16 of their last 25 games and playing at home for just the third time in their last 14 games, the Sixers, who in recent games have found themselves trailing by nice chunks at the end of three quarters, took an 85-76 lead into the fourth quarter. The Rockets whittled the lead to 96-93 with 6 minutes, 11 seconds to play.

But this time the Sixers refused to lose again, and they pushed back with their defense down the stretch. They held Houston without another field goal for more than five minutes, and Jrue Holiday's dunk after Thaddeus Young stole the ball from Houston's (21-17) James Harden (29 points) with just under a minute to play capped an 8-1 Sixers' run.

Holiday led all the Sixers with 30 points. He also finished with nine assists. Young added 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Jason Richardson finished with 16 for the Sixers (16-22), who won for the first time since beating the Los Angeles Lakers on New Year's Day.

Trying to locate their failing offense of late, the Sixers scored a season-high 58 points in the first half and led the Rockets, 58-50, as Evan Turner (12 points, six assists, seven rebounds) and Holiday, who did not play in the first meeting between these teams due to a sprained left foot, combined for 25 first-half points.

The Sixers got out to the kind of start that recently hasn't boded well for them and trailed by 11 points with 4 minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the first quarter. But the Sixers closed the quarter on a 20-5 run and led, 29-24, at the start of the second.

Before Saturday, the Sixers' last five losses came by an average of 18.2 points. And they have been particularly bad in the second half of those games, getting outscored 274-201.

The Sixers have yet to establish any type of identity at home this season. However, they will have this opportunity. They play just one more road game this month - at Milwaukee on Jan. 22 - and beginning with Tuesday's game against New Orleans they'll play 11 of their next 12 at home.

This isn't exactly a reason to be optimistic, though, because over the last month as they have stumbled the Sixers, with no post game to speak of and a defense that has recently been nonexistent, have become that team that others see on the schedule and come into their home building with confidence.

Additionally, the upcoming schedule isn't littered with pushovers. The Sixers will get visits from teams like San Antonio, New York, Memphis and the emerging Los Angeles Clippers.


Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow @JmitchInquirer on Twitter

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