When the doors to the 76ers' locker room opened last night for the usual pregame media availability, it was empty.

It had not been long since the team met with Tony DiLeo, who took over as the Sixers' head coach with the dismissal of Maurice Cheeks yesterday.

Andre Miller, the veteran guard whom Cheeks once compared to himself as far as being a true point guard, was the first member of the team to show his face.

"I didn't know what to think, but I've been through this before," Miller said about his reaction when he heard that Cheeks was out and DiLeo was in.

"I have a lot of respect for Cheeks and the things he's done in his career as a player and a coach. That's management's decision, to go ahead and move on. We as players, we've just got to stick to what we've been doing and figure out a way to get out of this slump."

The Sixers ended a three-game losing streak with a 104-89 win over Washington last night. The Sixers had lost back-to-back games to Cleveland before beating the Wizards.

In Cleveland's 88-72 victory on Friday night, the visiting Sixers' effort appeared to be lacking. That was part of what moved team president and general manager Ed Stefanski to finally make a change that he said he had been pondering for several games.

The team's inconsistent play had been a source of concern for Stefanski. Elton Brand, the power forward acquired during the off-season to give the team an inside presence, acknowledged the players' responsibility in Cheeks' removal.

"I definitely feel bad for Coach Mo," Brand said. "We as players have to step up and take it as a challenge."

Center Samuel Dalembert concurred.

"Now we have to hold ourselves accountable," he said. "I was surprised to see [the firing] happen so quickly and so fast. But it's the nature of the business. When things are not working well, decisions are made. But that does not mean that it's one person's fault."

For guard Lou Williams, who came to the Sixers out of high school and benefited from Cheeks' tutelage, seeing the coach go was like seeing a friend leave.

"I enjoyed playing for him. I think he was so tough because we're extremely personal. I've known Coach Cheeks since I was in high school. It was a different feeling he had for me. It was a good tough. He's definitely going to be a coach I'm going to miss."