PHILADELPHIA -- Doug Collins had seen enough. The
Philadelphia 76ers missed three shots, turned the ball over and had
their lead cut to three in the opening minutes of the second half,
causing their coach to call time out and remind them they were a
better team than that.
"I think the pulse beat of the team needed a little dose of,
'Let's go,' " Collins said.
And off they went.
The Sixers blew the game open in the third quarter, using a 30-8
run to build a 25-point lead. The Sixers won their fourth game
already by 20-plus points and allowed the second-fewest points by
an opponnent since the start of the 1985-86 season. They held
Portland to 60 in 2003.
"It's just the nature of an NBA team to go on runs," Iguodala
said. "Out of the timeout, we set something up, got a good luck
and then kind of settled down and got some stops on defense. The
defense just settled in and we got our adjustment on right out of
the gate. We just got to running."
Iguodala said after the game he is among 18 players vying for a
spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
"It would be incredible, not ever really thinking that I could
be there as a kid," he said.
Elton Brand heard whistles from the crowd after he was forced to
change jerseys on the court because of a rip on the back of his 42.
Toronto's Amir Johnson yanked at the 4 and ripped the numeral right
Andrea Bargnani had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Johnson had 12
points and 14 rebounds for the Raptors, who lost 97-85 to the Nets
"The third quarter just did us in," coach Dwane Casey said.
"Things just snowballed. It was more fatigue than lack of effort,
but you can't use that as an excuse."
The Sixers turned a methodical game into a rout after a sizzling
third quarter that led to their second win in two nights. Iguodala
nailed a 3-pointer during an 11-0 opening spurt that ignited the
30-8 run. Holiday added a 3 during the game-changing charge and the
young, energetic Sixers were alley-ooping and fastbreaking their
way to a win.
The Sixers went 15 for 40 from the floor in the first half. Led
by Holiday and a flawless 4 of 4 from Thaddeus Young, the Sixers
made 12 of 23 shots in the third (52 percent) and raced to a
25-point lead. Young scored 12 points.
One night after holding Detroit to 0 for 10 shooting from
3-point range, the Raptors were a measly 1 for 12.
Ed Stefanski, the former general manager who put this Sixers
team together, watched this blowout as a member of Toronto's
organization. Stefanski was fired after four seasons and quickly
landed with the Raptors as executive vice president of basketball
Stefanski hired Collins, who led the Sixers to the playoffs last
season, but it was too late to save his job.
More wins like this might have helped him.
"You can't use the word patience in the city of Philadelphia,
which I never used," Stefanski said before the game. "You can't
use the word rebuilding."
While the Sixers could use that true superstar who can carry
them to championship contention, the lean years appear over. The
Sixers have a pool of seven players who can all score in double
figures in every game. This one was no exception.
The lone cause of concern came in the second half when leading
rebounder Spencer Hawes sat out all but 2 minutes. He was spotted
on the bench with a wrap over his jersey around his midsection.
Hawes strained his back and hoped to play Monday against Indiana.
The only hole in their game was in Brand's jersey.
Johnson grabbed the stitched 4 and gave it a good yank with his
right hand as he ran away from Brand. He ripped the top part of the
4 off the jersey, leaving the number flapping in the air.
Brand removed his jersey and was briefly shirtless as the crowd
whistled and catcalled at their power forward.
"It was kind of embarrassing," Brand said. "As long as they
didn't start throwing money I was fine."
He was all smiles -- and so were the Sixers fans who bellowed
"First place!" after the final horn.
Philly's four-game winning streak matches its longest
winning streak from last season. ... The Sixers completed the first
of 16 back-to-backs. ... The Raptors had been the best defensive
team, holding teams to .397 (219 of 552) shooting. The Sixers shot
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