Sixers Send Rockets Reeling
Philadelphia's red-hot shooting propels Sixers to 114-105 win over Rockets
HOUSTON - In so many ways, this has been a Jekyll and Hyde season for the Rockets; a campaign in which the club has interspersed a handful of marvelous moments with some stretches of true horror.
Road wins in Boston and Atlanta showed what this team is capable of when firing on all cylinders. And Monday night’s big victory over the Nuggets saw Houston once again play the role of the good doctor, surgically dissecting Denver’s defense with ease.
But the grisly Mr. Hyde has enjoyed more than his fair share of appearances this season as well and Wednesday evening he reared his ugly head once more. For that the Rockets paid the ultimate price, falling to the fast-rising Philadelphia 76ers 114-105.
The Sixers were scorching from the field all night, hitting better than 55 percent of their shots from the floor as Houston’s defense appeared powerless to stop the offensive onslaught coming its way. And the Rockets’ transition D, a bugaboo for the team all season, was victimized once again, as Philly racked up a whopping 55 points in transition.
The Sixers spread the wealth offensively, boasting seven players in double-digit scoring, and their bench was especially lethal while outscoring the Rockets’ reserves by a 54-23 margin. Andre Iguodala, meanwhile, shook off a poor shooting night to record his fifth career triple-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists – all while applying his trademark lockdown defense on Houston’s leading scorer Kevin Martin, who suffered through a miserable shooting night of his own, knocking down just three of his 12 shots en route to scoring a mere 9 points.
Needless to say, this was not the way the Rockets had hoped to enter the NBA’s All-Star break, as the club dropped back to five games below the .500 mark following a 4-game home stand that saw the team muster just a single win.
“We thought since the Denver game came pretty easy to us, that it was going to be easy tonight,” said Shane Battier, while searching for reasons why his club followed the Denver game with a relative dud. “Philly is a totally different team; they’re a blue collar team. We never really imposed our style on them and they were in control the whole game.”
The loss took much of the shine off an absolutely spectacular night from Philadelphia-native Kyle Lowry, who did absolutely everything he could to keep his team in the ball game. Lowry hit his first 11 shots from the field on his way to scoring a career-high 36 points. All told, he knocked in 15 of the 18 shots he took Wednesday night, including a career-high six 3-pointers. Lowry was so good, in fact, that it almost seemed as if Sixers Head Coach Doug Collins was understating Lowry’s performance by labeling it “unbelievable” and “magnificent.”
Unfortunately for Houston, the Rockets’ starting point guard simply didn’t receive enough help to bring home a win. Remove Lowry’s 6-of-9 performance from downtown and the rest of the Rockets went just 3-of-23 from beyond the arc. True, Luis Scola came up big with 26 points and 13 rebounds and Patrick Patterson enjoyed one of his best games as a pro, totaling 10 points and 7 boards in little more than 15 minutes, but since Houston never could find a way to slow down the Sixers on the offensive end, all those efforts were in vain.
“We just didn't guard them,” lamented Rockets Head Coach Rick Adelman. “We didn't guard them all night long.
“We allowed their big guys [Elton] Brand and [Spencer] Hawes, who is not known for that, to just stand in and post us up. And our perimeter people did not get to their shooters and if they did get to them, they got beat off the dribble – all the things we talked about it.
“I thought there were times where we scored on our end, then their point guard would push it down the court and they got a layup on the other end. That’s just getting back and playing as a team and it’s frustrating because we can have stretches where we’re pretty good and it seems like we’re into it. But then we’ll have stretches where we act like we’re surprised that they’re attacking us and we just accept it. You can’t accept when guys are scoring on you... It’s just an attitude you have to have and we just didn’t have it tonight.”
(On the game) “We just didn't guard them (76ers). We didn't guard them all night long. We talked about what they were going to do. They get the ball, they attack you, they shoot it. A lot of guys just put it on the floor. We just never made enough stops in the last three quarters.”
It’s two things: You can’t react defensively to what’s going on anywhere on the offensive end. You’ve got to play through it and you’ve got to understand what the other team is doing. . And then I thought we weren’t strong enough going to the basket. There were times I thought we got bumped but they weren’t calling it so you have to force the issue – you’ve got to be stronger when you go to the basket. We never got to the line. We shot 10 free throws and took a lot of 3s but we’ve got to be stronger than that.
They got a lot in the paint from the very beginning. We allowed their big guys Brand and Hawes, who is not known for that, to just stand in and post us up. And our perimeter people did not get to their shooters and if they did get to them, they got beat off the dribble – all the things we talked about it. This team, if we’re going to do anything, guys who score points for us and everything else, they all have to take some pride in the other end. This team shot 55 percent and that’s not good enough to win games in this league.
You still have to take responsibility yourself. There was nothing that they did that we didn’t anticipate or know about. Their point guards were getting into the paint on us. I thought there were times where we scored on our end, then their point guard would push it down the court and they got a layup on the other end. That’s just getting back and playing as a team and it’s frustrating because we can have stretches where we’re pretty good and it seems like we’re into it. But then we’ll have stretches where we act like we’re surprised that they’re attacking us and we just accept it. You can’t accept when guys are scoring on you. You have to make it harder on them the next time... It’s just an attitude you have to have and we just didn’t have it tonight.
We thought since the Denver game came pretty easy to us, that it was going to be easy tonight. Philly is a totally different team; they’re a blue collar team. We never really imposed our style on them and they were in control the whole game.
(how does that happen when these games are so important?): That’s the million dollar question. If I knew the answer I’d probably be a head coach somewhere.
(defensive issues): It’s a discipline issue. You have to take away the easy baskets from the other team. I don’t care what level of basketball you’re playing, the most basic thing is you have to get back on defense when you turn the ball over or miss a shot, and you just have to perform your responsibilities. That has nothing to do with size, it has nothing to do with ability; just be in the right place at the right time, and if you don’t do that on a consistent basis then you’ll lack defensive consistency. It is that simple.
(defensive issues): It’s want-to thing, it’s a will thing and it’s a concentration thing. Some games we look awesome and some games we don’t.
(on his career-high scoring night): I don’t care about that stuff. I just want to win.
(On the 76ers regrouping after a slow start) “They started playing their game and that is running and pushing and not stopping. That's what they do. They are a very good team like t that. They get up and down. They push. They kept running and that first stretch when they did, it seemed like that got them going. They shot 55% for the game and that helps them out but it doesn't help us.”
(On the Rockets missing shots) “That's part of the game. You've got to start taking it to the hole when your outside shots aren't falling. You've got to do something different but that's what we do. We shoot jump shots and we live by it. We just missed shots tonight. Kevin (Martin) didn't have his best night but that happens sometimes.”
(On his play) “I tried my best to play defense, to be in the right place at the right time. I tried to contain my man. For me, it was all about being energetic, providing energy for my teammates, playing defense, providing shot blocking and trying to get offensive rebounds as well.”
(On playing against the 76ers) “Their record is deceiving. They have a great team and they have a great coach. They have a great playing style. They've been playing good basketball lately and have been able to get wins on the road and at home. So we knew coming into this game that we couldn't take this game for granted and we knew that they were a great basketball team our play should have been better than that.”
(On what happened after the first quarter) “I think we did a good job in the first quarter but they (76ers) kept playing well and making shots. They played better than us today, that's the truth. You have to be able to play better than the other team if you want to have the chance to play. They made big shots. They made stops and we didn't.”
(On if this is a recurring problem) “In the first quarter, that's a long way to go and it doesn't mean anything. We were up 10 (points) in the first quarter. It feels good to start well but it's not like you have control of the game and you have good defense and you control the break. They came back really quick. Really, the first quarter was just a good start. I believe we never had control of the game.”
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS COACH DOUG COLLINS
(On the game) “It was a great win to go into the break with. Houston is a very difficult team to stop. I went to the bench early to try to defend the match-ups we had with Houston. I wanted to keep Iguodala (Andre) on Martin (Kevin). I was looking for certain match-ups. I wanted to get Shane Battier out of the play as much as possible. Our guys did a great job and they just weren’t going to lose.”
(On Kyle Lowry’s play) “He was unbelievable. He was great and he just wouldn’t miss. We thought we could win the game if we made Houston shoot twos rather than threes. Kyle (Lowry) was just magnificent.”
(On the key to the game) “We played great. Our bench has been a big key for us all year long. Our solid record is a big part of the bench and how it has been a key component for us all year.”
(On the game) “It was really important to get this one on the back side of a back-to-back. We don’t like losing and we do a good job of regrouping quickly. We are a good team and we have to stay consistent.”
(On his triple double) “They didn’t want to give it to me, but I really wanted it after missing a few recently. I didn’t shoot the ball very well but we won and that’s all that is important.”
(On his ankle) “My ankle feels good, I went back to the locker room after I sprained it and got re-taped. They didn’t need me but I was ready to go.”
(On the win) “Absolutely, this was a big win with the all-star break coming up. It’s a momentum game to have everyone feeling good. When it starts going you just roll with it. We battled hard and took control of the game.”
Philadelphia took a 114-105 decision over the Rockets, giving the Sixers four straight wins in Houston for the first time in the history of this season (prev. high: three in a row done twice, 11/7/67-2/16/68 and 12/20/68-2/6/70).
The Sixers, who returned from 12 points down in the first quarter, have come back from double-digit deficits in each of its last four consecutive wins at Toyota Center: 16 points in a 111-107 win on 1/15/08, 14 points in a 95-93 win on 1/28/09 and 13 points in a 102-95 win on 2/6/10.
Houston set its season lows in free throws made (6) and attempted (10) tonight. The previous lows were 10 makes and 11 attempts, done twice each (last: 10-11 FT on 2/1/11 at L.A. Lakers).
Kyle Lowry registered a career-high 36 points (15-18 FG, 6-9 3FG), seven assists and four rebounds. His previous best in scoring was 28 points (11-15 FG, 2-2 FT) at Memphis (12/3/10) and 28 points (10-20 FG, 6-6 FT) vs. New Orleans (1/14/11). Lowry, who hit his first 11 shots of the game, actually set his career high in 3-pointers made by going 5-of-5 from beyond the arc in the first half alone. His previous best was four treys in a game (done five times: 2/12/11 vs. Dallas).
Luis Scola posted 26 points (12-21 FG) and 13 rebounds tonight. Scola has now posted a double-double in four of the last five meetings with the Sixers.
Patrick Patterson recorded his fourth double-figure scoring game of the season with 10 points (5-8 FG), seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
Jrue Holiday led seven Sixers in double-digit scoring with 20 points (8-11 FG, 2-2 3FG) and eight assists. Holiday, who entered this game with just 10 total assists over the previous five games, picked up his ninth 20-point game of the season.
Andre Iguodala finished with 13 points (3-15 FG, 6-6 FT), 12 rebounds, 10 assists and four steals, which marked his fifth career triple-double and his first of 2010-11. It also marked the second triple-double against the Rockets this season (John Wall on 11/10/10 at Washington).
Spencer Hawes notched 17 points (8-11 FG) and 10 rebounds, marking his fifth double-double of the season. Hawes, who suffered a left ankle sprain tonight, has now scored 10-plus points in three of the past four games after not doing so in any of his previous 19 games played. His last double-figure scoring game prior to this recent run was at Phoenix (12/29/10).
Thaddeus Young had 19 points (9-14 FG) off the bench tonight. Young led five Sixers in double-digit scoring with 17 points (7-10 FG) last year at Houston (2/6/10).
Elton Brand added 10 points (5-9 FG) and 11 rebounds, helping the Sixers take a 50-40 edge off the glass tonight. Brand also gave Philadelphia three players with points-rebounds double-doubles, which was the first time an opponent has accomplished this against the Rockets since Roy Hibbert (20 points, 11 rebounds), Josh McRoberts (18 points, 12 boards) and Troy Murphy (17 points, 12 rebounds) at Indiana (4/4/10).