SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The 76ers got a big boost from their two first-round draft choices on Friday night in continuing their recent success on the road.
Rookies Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith totaled 15 points and made their first seven combined shots as the Sixers defeated the Sacramento Kings, 92-80, at Arco Arena.
It was the first of six consecutive road games and gave the Sixers their fourth win in their last five games away from the Wachovia Center.
Overall, the Sixers have won eight of their last 11 games.
Smith, who scored nine points and shot 4 for 4 from the field, also contributed three rebounds in 12 minutes, 32 seconds. Young added six points, five rebounds and three steals while shooting 3 for 4 from the field in 15 minutes.
"I guess this is a tribute to the rookies," Young said. "All I was looking to do was give us some energy."
So was Smith, who played one of his best games of the year.
"When I made those first two shots, it gave me confidence," Smith said. "I went in there with the mind-set to play hard defense."
The Sixers' bench outscored Sacramento's reserves, 31-15. Kyle Korver scored 10 points off the bench and Lou Williams added six.
Andre Iguodala, who was held to seven points in the first three quarters, scored nine in the final period. The Sixers outscored Sacramento, 29-17, after the teams entered the quarter tied at 63. For the game, Iguodala also came up with five assists and three steals.
"I thought tonight we were sluggish," Iguodala said. "We had the long flight out here [Thursday], and luckily we were able to put things together in the fourth quarter."
Samuel Dalembert had 19 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots, and Andre Miller contributed 18 points and three assists.
"Thaddeus and Jason Smith played big for us tonight," said Miller, who lives in Sacramento in the off-season. "They came up with a number of big plays."
Like Miller, Dalembert couldn't stop talking about the rookies.
"I am really proud of them," he said. "Thaddeus was tremendous and Jason was great."
Former Sixer John Salmons scored 22 points for the Kings, but he also forced too many plays while shooting 8 for 18 from the field. And he committed five turnovers.
Sacramento was without its three best players, which raised the question: How competitive could this team be with all its parts?
Point guard Mike Bibby hasn't played all season because of a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Shooting guard Kevin Martin, the team's leading scorer, missed his 11th consecutive game with a strained right groin. And guard-forward Ron Artest was sidelined with a bone chip in his right elbow.
Even with that, Sacramento (11-17) and the Sixers were tied heading into the final period.
With about nine minutes remaining, the score was tied at 69 before the Sixers went on a 7-0 run that began with a three-point play by Korver. He was fouled on a 17-foot jumper and hit the ensuing free throw.
A little more than a minute later, Young's layup extended the Sixers' lead to 76-69 with 7:30 left.
Sacramento twice got within five points.
Leading by 78-73 just past the midway point of the fourth quarter, the Sixers put it away with a 10-0 run in which Iguodala scored seven and Dalembert the other three.
This was quite a reversal from the Kings' 109-99 win over the Sixers on Dec. 14 at the Wachovia Center.
During the second half of that game, Sacramento didn't get much defensive resistance. The Kings' final 13 field goals were either layups or dunks.
Last night, the Kings still drove freely to the basket, but the Sixers did a better job of defending against their back cuts, limiting to a degree the easy baskets.
Sacramento really struggled in the fourth quarter, shooting just 7 for 18 from the field and committing seven of its 23 turnovers.
The Sixers head to Portland for Sunday's game against the NBA's hottest team. The Trail Blazers have won 12 in a row but will be playing a team that continues to gain both confidence and wins away from home.