76ers blast Kings to end road losing streak

The 76ers' Spencer Hawes battles for a rebound with Sacramento's Jason Thompson.
The 76ers' Spencer Hawes battles for a rebound with Sacramento's Jason Thompson. (RICH PEDRONCELL / Associated Press)
Posted: March 26, 2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - It's over.

The 76ers ended their almost three-month-long road losing streak with an offensive explosion, running past the Sacramento Kings, 117-103, on Sunday night at Sleep Train Arena.

It was the Sixers' highest-scoring game of the season. Their previous high (109) came in a loss to Oklahoma City.

The win is their first on the road since they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers on New Year's Day. The victory ended their string of road losses at 15 games. It is their longest such streak since they dropped 20 straight 25 years ago.

"It finally feels good to win on the road," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "I really feel happy for our guys, especially the way they bounced back following that tough, tough loss in Denver. It shows a lot about our guys to come out at this point of the season and fight."

In winning for just the fifth time in their last 20 games, the Sixers (27-42) placed seven players in double figures. Jrue Holiday led the way with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Damien Wilkins added 17 points and Spencer Hawes finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Sixers, who play at Utah on Monday.

Lavoy Allen finished with a career-high 20 points.

Isaiah Thomas led Sacramento (25-46) with 25 points. Marcus Thornton came off the bench to score 22 for the Kings, who also got 19 points and eight rebounds from Chester's Tyreke Evans. Evans, however, cooled off after the first quarter, when he scored 12 points and handed out five assists to help the Kings to a 31-22 lead.

"We were too frenetic to start the game," Collins said, "and I told our guys, 'We can't play at that pace.' We had 27 shots and we scored 21 points with just two free throws."

The Sixers heeded Collins' advice and slowed things down in the second quarter. They shot much better (11 for 21) and they converted 11 of 12 free throws.

The victory was special for the Sixers for a variety of reasons. Of course, ending the road losing streak was important to the Sixers, who have been all but mathematically eliminated from the playoff race.

But the Sixers have been hurting over the last two days after blowing an eight-point lead at Denver on Thursday. The Sixers shot a season-high 55 percent from the floor against Denver but lost the game in a flurry of errors at the end.

Leading by 78-77 late in the third quarter, the Sixers bridged the third and fourth periods with a 28-7 run to take a 105-87 lead with just over eight minutes left in the game.

What made the difference?

"Our defense," Collins said. "This team wants to score. But after the first quarter we got the pace of the game where we wanted it. And then, what I showed our guys was that when we moved the ball we got wide-open shots."

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

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