A Sacramento Kings team that could not win on the road made itself at home tonight against the 76ers at the Wachovia Center.
The Kings, who were 0-9 away from the Arco Arena, became the final NBA team to win a road game this season, posting a 109-99 victory over the Sixers.
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Sixers (9-14). Is this any way for the Sixers to begin a long stretch on the road, when 13 of the next 17 games will be played away from the Wachovia Center?
It's hard to imagine the 76ers playing much worse on the road than they did tonight.
Of course, Sacramento (9-14) deserves some credit. The Kings worked hard for a multitude of easy baskets. They also outhustled the Sixers, especially on the boards, where they had a 38-31 advantage.
Samuel Dalembert, coming off a near-triple-double (18 points, 11 rebounds, nine blocks) in Wednesday's 98-94 win over Minnesota, was considerably off from matching that effort tonight. He finished with four points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots.
Nobody from the Kings was intimidated by the shot-blocking ability of Dalembert or anybody else.
In fact, the Sixers' lane was like an open highway, with Sacramento consistently driving uncontested or scoring off back cuts.
The Sixers were annihilated by the Kings' frontcourt, led by Brad Miller and Mikki Moore.
Miller had 25 points (9 for 12 shooting), 10 rebounds and six assists. Moore contributed 24 points (10 for 11). Former Sixer John Salmons added 19 points.
Andre Miller scored 24 points to lead the Sixers, but he had only six after halftime. Willie Green scored 16, and Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams each added 15.
Before the game, Kings coach Reggie Theus talked about how his team had been competitive in virtually every game. The rookie coach was not blowing smoke.
Take away the first three losses to New Orleans, San Antonio and Dallas on the road by a combined 51 points and Sacramento has played competitively most nights.
For instance, in Wednesday's 90-78 loss at Boston, Sacramento trailed by just four points entering the fourth quarter. Last Saturday, the Kings lost by 101-97 in Denver, despite 25 points from Salmons.
The Kings have played without starting point guard Mike Bibby, out with torn ligaments in his left thumb. Ron Artest missed the first seven games because of an NBA suspension.
And tonight was the fifth straight game that leading scorer Kevin Martin missed with a groin injury.
Theus said his team has played hard, and tonight was a classic example.
The Kings proved during a 51-51 first half that this wouldn't be an easy night for the Sixers, regardless of Sacramento's road record.
The Kings shot 55 percent (22 for 40) in the first two quarters. They also did a good job of limiting the Sixers in transition. The Sixers had six fastbreak points in the first half.
Had it not been for Miller, the Sixers would have been in big trouble. Miller scored 18 first-half points, shooting 7 for 8 from the field. No one else on the Sixers was in double figures before halftime.
Salmons played a strong all-around game for the Kings, with 11 points and three assists in the first half.
One of the key additions for Sacramento has been point guard Beno Udrih, who had seen limited time in San Antonio. Udrih has been a find for the Kings. He entered the contest averaging 14.9 points per game, and even though he was scoreless in the first half, he did plenty of damage in the third quarter and finished with 15.
Udrih scored 11 points in the third period as Sacramento outscored the Sixers by 34-23 to take an 85-74 lead.
Moore was destroying the Sixers inside and Miller was hurting them from all over the court. They combined for 39 points in the first three quarters, shooting 16 for 19 from the field.