Ever since the Philadelphia 76ers shook up their front office earlier this season, the team's young players have been trying to push the pace.
Now, opponents are having trouble catching up with them.
The surprising Sixers will try to win an eighth straight home game for the first time in more than five years on Friday when they face the struggling Seattle SuperSonics.
Since general manager Billy King was fired and replaced with Ed Stefanski on Dec. 4, the Sixers are 23-21 after starting the season 5-12. But they've been especially hot lately, winning 10 of their last 13 games while averaging 101.8 points.
The offense has been outstanding in the last two games, when the Sixers (28-33) averaged 112.5 points and shot a combined 57.7 percent from the field in road wins over Phoenix and the Los Angeles Clippers.
"We kind of went through a change in management, and they wanted us to get up and down the court more," point guard Andre Miller said. "So with the athleticism we have on this team, we want to do that and get easy baskets."
The Sixers, who have only three players older than 27, averaged 94.0 points in the season's first 48 games, but they've scored at least 100 in 11 of their last 12 wins as they've moved into playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
Their seven-game winning streak at home matches their longest since they won the first 10 home games of the 2002-03 season. They had started just 9-14 at the Wachovia Center this season.
Miller has keyed the team's turnaround, averaging 19.1 points and 8.4 assists over the last 17 games while shooting 53.1 percent from the floor.
"They've been a big surprise team of late, and you don't have to look any further than Andre Miller," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "He's just been playing absolutely terrific basketball and he leads that team very well."
Miller failed to score in double figures for the first time in nearly two months on Monday, but six other Sixers did while he finished with eight assists in a 106-80 win over the Clippers. Andre Iguodala had 18 points, Lou Williams added 16 to go with eight assists and Samuel Dalembert had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Philadelphia, which shot a season-best 59.0 percent from the field.
Iguodala had 25 points, Williams added 19 and Dalembert blocked six shots in a 98-90 win at Seattle on Dec. 31 - the Sixers' third straight victory over the SuperSonics (16-45).
Seattle doesn't seem like a good candidate to slow down Philadelphia's pace, as the Sonics have allowed 100 points in seven straight games, losing six.
They've also lost 15 of 17 on the road, including a 118-106 defeat at Milwaukee on Wednesday. Kevin Durant had 23 points and Johan Petro added 11 points and 15 rebounds for Seattle, which fell behind 69-54 by halftime.
The Sonics cut the deficit to five in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get any closer.
"That's trying to make up for 35 lackluster minutes with 10 or 12 real aggressive minutes where we played, did good things, made shots and hustled our way back in it," Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "The fact that we were persistent was good, but it wasn't enough."
The Sonics, in the midst of a season-high seven-game road trip, are 6-24 away from home this season.
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