SACRAMENTO - Maybe the Sixers are on to something, here.
For the second straight game, they got clutch points from Allen Iverson, terrific bench play from Elton Brand, a solid all-around effort from Andre Iguodala, a key contribution from another bench player (Rodney Carney) and defensive stops when they needed them.
When added up, it resulted in a 116-106 win over the Sacramento Kings. The victory followed the same formula the Sixers (9-22) used in Monday's 104-93 win at Portland.
It was just the second time this season they have posted consecutive wins. The last time was when they beat the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks at the end of October.
"I just thought we played very inspired basketball, like we normally do," coach Eddie Jordan said. "It was a total team effort. Guys came off the bench played very well for us. We did a very good job on them when we had to defend them in stretches. It was certainly a total team defensive effort.
"Allen gives us another dimension and we're playing off of him and Elton didn't have it going like he did in Portland, but he was very instrumental for us. Lou Williams got it going, Rodney Carney came off the bench and did a great job for us. Again, our guys played well in their roles and that was good for us."
Iverson, who has played with maestro-like control during his stint with the club, posted 20 points. Brand provided a spark off the bench again, following up his season-high 25-point effort against the Blazers with 14. Iguodala totaled 19 points, seven rebounds and nine assists and Carney had 14 points. Lou Williams led the Sixers with 22 points and was by far the fastest player on the court.
In the past two games, Iguodala has 18 assists and zero turnovers.
Too many times this season, 76ers losses have been blamed on their inability to score baskets late in games, and it has cost them dearly. Sixteen of the team's 22 losses have come by eight points or fewer.
Sometimes, though, it is their inability to score early in the game, creating large deficits, which then necessitates a huge burst of energy to climb back into a game. Perhaps that lends to their ineffectiveness late in contests.
Last night at Arco Arena, the Sixers made just seven of their first 22 shots in falling behind by as much as 11 in the first quarter.
But they then drained 23 of their 40 shots during the second and third periods to erase the deficit and build a lead that got as high as 12 at 105-93 on an Iguodala jumper with 4 minutes, 36 seconds left in the game.
It was similar to their performance Monday in Portland when, after falling behind by 10 early in the third, they hit 15 of 20 from the floor to get a lead that they didn't let slip, snapping a four-game losing streak.
"I feel little better as far as conditioning," said Iverson, who hit his arthritic left knee on the floor. "That was the first time I really hit it since I injured it. It was just more scary than anything."
The Sixers' play wasn't, as they continuously thwarted comeback attempts by the Kings, who fell to 14-17.
Last night, Carney provided a heroic effort off the bench. With the score tied at 76 late in the third quarter, Carney gave the Sixers a three-point lead heading into the fourth when he drained a trey from the right wing.
He carried the hot hand into the fourth. On the Sixers' first possession he drained another three, almost from the same spot. Next possession, same thing - Carney deep trey from the right, and the Sixers owned an 85-79 lead. A few minutes later, it was fitting that Carney had a follow tip that gave the Sixers their biggest lead of the night to that point, 94-83, with 8:26 remaining. From there, it was just a matter of closing things out, something the Sixers haven't had the chance to do most of the season.
"Things are starting to come a little more fluid," Iguodala said. "We have a lot of guys who are a threat on the floor during the game. Myself, Allen can make a play, Lou can make a play, Elton can make a play and Thad [Young] can. It's really tough keying on one guy. Guys are getting good looks and knocking them down."
The Kings were playing without rookie and Chester native Tyreke Evans, who sat out his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. Evans is averaging 20.3 points a game.
Omri Casspi and Donte Greene each had 21 points to lead the Kings, while South Jersey native Jason Thompson had 15 points and 11 assists. The Kings had been 9-1 when Thompson had posted a double-double.