Sixers surge past Blazers for second straight win

Posted: March 19, 2013

The 76ers won two straight games for only the second time since the beginning of February, but the pertinent talk in the locker room Monday night was not about the 101-100 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. It was about what might have been - and what still might be.

The win at the Wells Fargo Center gave the Sixers (26-40) their first winning streak since they won three straight from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4.

The Sixers got 27 points from Jrue Holiday, 18 points and 13 rebounds from Spencer Hawes, 19 points from Thaddeus Young, and 16 points from reserve Dorell Wright. But their playoff hopes remain slim: They will play 12 of their final 16 games on the road and they stand 71/2 games behind in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

The Blazers (31-35) were led by LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 32 points and 14 rebounds.

Afterward, the Sixers speculated about what might have been if center Andrew Bynum had played this season.

Bynum will undergo arthroscopic surgery Tuesday on both knees, ending a season that never really began. Young, for one, hopes Bynum will re-sign with the Sixers as a free agent.

"Me personally, I think having him on the team and having his presence is huge," Young said. "That has always been a knock on us: We don't have a true big man. But if we can get him back and get him 100 percent healthy, it's going to be scary for a lot of teams next year."

Surgery is not the worst thing that could happen, Young said.

"Guys have had knee surgery and things done to them surgically and have come back even better," Young said. "It is all about him getting back in the gym and getting his rhythm back and playing basketball."

Hawes, who has played his best basketball this season, said that the Sixers have tried to put the situation out of their minds as best they can all season long. Hawes would have played at power forward rather than center if Bynum had suited up.

"It will be great if he gets healthy and we can sign him," Hawes said. "But the thing is, you can't sit around saying what if, what if, what if. 'What if' is not going to change our record from 26-40 to 40-26.

"What you really want is to make sure that his mind-set is all right," Hawes said. "You want him to get healthy both physically and mentally. That's the key and then we'll see what happens."

Contact John N. Mitchell at Follow @JmitchInquirer on Twitter.

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