76ers Notes

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Guard

Lou Williams

played only 8 minutes, 44 seconds Friday in the 99-91 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He sat the entire second half.

A little more than two months ago, Williams was playing the best basketball of his five-year career. Now he's a reserve among reserves.

Does he think Friday's stretch of sitting was a one-time occasion?

"It'll happen again. Definitely, it'll happen again," Williams said.

But it didn't last night. Against the New Jersey Nets, he was the first reserve off the bench and logged 28 minutes, finishing with 11 points and a team-high five assists.

Williams, who entered last night averaging 14.5 points and 4.0 assists a game, said Friday's bench time had surprised him.

Just before Thanksgiving, his jaw was broken during play. He missed 12 games. To fill the gap, the Sixers brought in Allen Iverson, who has started all 21 games since signing in early December.

Williams said the injury had altered his season's trajectory.

"For me personally, yeah, I think so," he said, "because I was playing well. I was playing at an all-time high at this point in my career. It was a setback, and I haven't played the same since. And obviously we've gone through the changes of having Allen here. It hasn't been the same since then."

Coach Eddie Jordan said Williams' limited minutes Friday were due to defensive matchups. The Lakers' size, Jordan said, demanded moving swingman Andre Iguodala to shooting guard, also opening minutes for Thaddeus Young at small forward.

'Ten-game playoff'

Before the Jan. 23 game against the Indiana Pacers - a road victory - Jordan said the team was looking at the last 10 games before the all-star break as a "10-game playoff series."

The Sixers are 2-3 in the first five games of Jordan's playoff series.

"Sometimes we emphasize it, and sometimes we don't, but it's certainly a game plan for us," Jordan said before the game. "We're a little bit behind in it, but it's still a motivational piece for us."

Iguodala's troubles

Iguodala made 21 of 60 shots in the five games leading up to last night's, scoring in double figures only once. He was averaging 17.2 points and 6.8 rebounds for the season.

With the team's leading scorer struggling, Jordan said he would not make a concerted effort to get Iguodala shots - it just wouldn't be Iguodala's style.

"I think Andre does so much that, with good reason, he doesn't take one thing and say, 'I've got to be great at one thing,' " Jordan said. "He wants to be very, very good at everything. And that's OK."

- Kate Fagan