Looking for more of a contest against a Washington Wizards team they had blown out just four days earlier, the 76ers got just that Tuesday in their first and only home preseason game, a 101-94 victory at the Wells Fargo Center.
In a game that was close for the better part of the evening, Jrue Holiday, whom the Sixers will look to often to take over games late, delivered.
His three-pointer with 2 minutes, 13 seconds to go put the Sixers ahead, 90-88. He then fed rookie center Nikola Vucevic for a layup. And then, with a little more than a minute remaining, he sank another three-pointer to give the Sixers a 95-88 advantage.
After a basket from Washington's JaVale McGee, Holiday sank two free throws for a 97-90 lead to ice the victory with 38.5 seconds to play.
Holiday led the Sixers with 24 points and six assists. He was one of six Sixers to finish in double figures. Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, and Andre Iguodala each added 13 points for the Sixers, who finished the preseason 2-0.
Washington, which dropped both of its games against the Sixers, was led by McGee with 20 points.
The Sixers open the regular season playing four games in six nights, beginning the day after Christmas at Portland. They will play at Phoenix two days later, get another day off, then close the trip with back-to-back games at Utah and Golden State.
The biggest issue for the Sixers - and other teams as well - has been how to manage the short training camp and the two preseason games. Sixers coach Doug Collins has said on numerous occasions that he's depending on his players to communicate with him as much as possible their level of fatigue, something coaches typically never do during a season not affected by a lockout.
One thing that Collins certainly didn't want was a repeat of the 103-78 blowout victory the Sixers scored over the Wizards at the Verizon Center on Friday. Collins was happy with the win. However, like most NBA coaches, he wanted to at least test his team against others, something that did not happen last week.
Instead of falling behind by 21 points by halftime, the Wizards played with substantially more energy Tuesday.
They overcame a nine-point Sixers lead in the second quarter, when they outscored the hosts, 32-22. And they closed the half on a 14-5 run to lead by 49-40 at halftime.
Collins has continued to tinker with certain lineups, and during that last stretch of the half he went with an interesting three-guard combination that saw him play Evan Turner, who will likely come off the bench when the season starts, along with starters Jodie Meeks and Jrue Holiday.
For a significant stretch of the fourth quarter, Collins kept key reserves Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, and Turner on the floor with Spencer Hawes (who led the Sixers with 13 rebounds) and Iguodala.
Collins pulled Hawes down the stretch and inserted Vucevic in his place, but otherwise he stuck with the same players until he reinserted Elton Brand for Young for the final three minutes of the game.
Welcome home. It was announced Tuesday that former Overbrook High School and Drexel University star Malik Rose will join the Comcast SportsNet telecasts during the regular season. Rose, who won a pair of championships with the San Antonio Spurs during his NBA career, joins Marc Zumoff and Meredith Marakovits on the Sixers broadcast team.