Surging Sixers face a stern test in Blazers

Evan Turner turned in a stellar perfomance in the 76ers' 113-104 win over Sacramento on Thursday night. He totaled 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Evan Turner turned in a stellar perfomance in the 76ers' 113-104 win over Sacramento on Thursday night. He totaled 24 points and 10 rebounds. (HECTOR AMEZCUA / Sacramento Bee)
Posted: January 05, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. - The 76ers were embarrassed the last time they faced Portland.

The Trail Blazers set a franchise record with 21 made three-pointers. Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge had game highs of 20 points and 16 rebounds without breaking a sweat. The game concluded with a 139-105 Blazers victory and the most points surrendered by the Sixers all season.

"But . . . obviously, we are in a better place, right now as a team, the way we are playing," center Spencer Hawes said. "It all goes back to how we play on defense. We made some adjustments. We put in some different schemes."

On paper, the Sixers (11-21) are a different team since the Dec. 14 meeting at the Wells Fargo Center.

Back then, they were starving for any type of victory. Three weeks later, they head into Saturday's game at Moda Center with their first three-game road winning streak since beating New Orleans, Boston, and Toronto Nov. 7-10, 2012.

Their latest victory was a 113-104 decision at Sacramento on Thursday.

Thaddeus Young paced five double-digit scorers with 28 points on 9-for-16 shooting. The 6-foot-8 power forward also finished with seven rebounds, a career-high six steals, four assists, and a blocked shot.

Evan Turner (24 points, 10 rebounds), Tony Wroten (21 points), Hawes (10), and Lavoy Allen (10) were other double-figure scorers.

The Sixers also forced the Kings (10-21) into committing 22 turnovers.

"To force 22 turnovers and to hold this team to this many points for us is a great thing," said coach Brett Brown, whose squad ranks last in the league in scoring defense (111.0 points). "I'm happy with the defensive effort."

The Sixers also had solid defensive efforts in their other road wins, against the Lakers and the Nuggets.

However, the true test comes Saturday.

That's because the Lakers took a 13-19 record and a six-game losing streak into Friday's game against Utah. Meanwhile, the Nuggets had a 14-17 mark and eight-game slide before that night's contest against Memphis.

But in Portland (26-7), the Sixers face the team with the league's best record.

The Blazers are coming off Thursday's 134-104 victory over Charlotte. They hit 21 three-pointers to match the franchise record they set against the Sixers.

Aldridge leads the Blazers in scoring (23.2) and rebounding (11.0). Point guard Damian Lillard averages 21.4 points and six assists.


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

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