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March 27, 2014 | Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

by Max Rappaport, Sixers.com
Posted: March 27, 2014

HOUSTON –– This season, the Rockets and Sixers have tailored their offenses around getting easy buckets in the paint and in transition; the two teams rank second and third, respectively, in combined paint and fastbreak points (68.9 and 66.6). Thursday night, it was Houston who prevailed in those two categories, and, as a result, on the scoreboard. 

They outscored the Sixers 62-36 in the paint and 34-15 in transition en route to a 120-98 Philadelphia loss at Toyota Center, their 26th straight, matching an NBA record set by the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2010-11 season.

“We’re on a different path,” said head coach Brett Brown after the game. “We think that this [pain] will fade to a distant memory come September… That’s the lense that we look at it through.”

During the streak, Brown has tried to find wins outside of those found in the standings. One of those has been the development of rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who the first-year coach says has become a stronger leader as the season has reached its final stretch.

“[Michael] addressed the team in the locker room [after the game] and showed tremendous leadership,” he said. “He never would have done that two months ago… He probably wouldn’t have done it two weeks ago. All these small wins we find along the way, that’s our roadmap this year.”

Another one of those small wins was a 30-point performance by James Anderson, who fell six points shy of a career-high set when the Sixers hosted the Rockets in November. Anderson was 11-of-18 from the floor and 6-of-11 from beyond the arc.

Thaddeus Young finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, and Henry Sims added 18 points, six rebounds, and two steals.

The Rockets were led by James Harden, who notched a triple-double (26 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) despite sitting out the fourth quarter. Dwight Howard scored 17 points and pulled down a game-high 13 boards in the victory.

The Sixers return to action Saturday at Wells Fargo Center against the Detroit Pistons.