PHOENIX - The 76ers came to the Valley of the Sun looking for a tonic, a balm to soothe the lingering pangs that accompanied their sloppy performance in their season-opening loss.
They found exactly what they were looking for in the US Airways Center in the form of a team that offered little resistance as the Sixers rolled to an easy, 103-83 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
The Sixers led from start to finish, led by as many as 34 points, opened the second half with 19 unanswered points, and were never seriously challenged by a Phoenix team that is heavily by aging stars and very little talent.
In improving their record to 1-1, the Sixers, who play next at Utah on Friday, got 15 points apiece from Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday, and Thaddeus Young. The victory, however, was tempered when, late in the fourth quarter, Holiday appeared to land awkwardly on his feet and hurt his right knee. He was able to walk to the locker room on his own.
Reserve guard Ronnie Price led 0-2 Phoenix with 16 points.
Sixers coach Doug Collins was ticked off in the season opener with the way the Sixers began the game. He was dissatisfied with the way the Sixers were outrebounded early, and the 20 turnovers - last year they turned it over a league-low 13 times a game - were inexcusable in a 107-103 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Unlike they did at Portland on Monday, where they fell behind by 10-2 early and never led after going up by 2-0, the Sixers, with Iguodala hitting his jumper, took an early 11-4 lead.
The first quarter featured the first appearance in a game by rookie big man Nikola Vucevic, and he acquitted himself well.
Checking in for center Spencer Hawes with 2 minutes, 29 seconds left in the quarter, Vucevic immediately got his name in the box score, scoring back-to-back baskets. His first was a tip-in of a missed shot. And he closed the scoring in the period with a short jumper that gave the Sixers a 25-18 lead after one quarter.
Vucevic's baskets were part of a 17-6 Sixers run that bridged the first and second quarters and pushed the lead to 34-22.
The Sixers looked much livelier against the Suns than they did against Portland, and it continued into the second quarter.
The Suns scored six straight points to pull to within 34-28. But the Sixers responded at the defensive end, holding Phoenix to just three field goals in the final 6:21 of the second quarter. This enabled them to outscore the Suns, who missed all five of their three-point attempts in the first two quarters, by 14-6 in that same time frame and take a 48-34 lead at the half.
The Sixers put the game out of reach in the third quarter with stifling defense that choked off any hope that the Suns might have had of getting back in the game. Not only did they score 19 straight points to start the third - which gave them 67-34 advantage - but they forced the Suns to miss their first 10 shots of the quarter and held them scoreless in the second half until Shannon Brown swished a mid-range jumper with 5:48 to play in the period.
Shortly thereafter, the Sixers took their largest lead of the game when Hawes converted a three-point play with 5:31 left in the third.
The Suns' season began on Monday with a disappointing home loss to New Orleans, a game in which they scored only 84 points. They made just 39.9 percent of their field goals and none of their starters scored more than 14 points.
Going into the game, Collins probably thought the best way to attack the Suns was to make their starters get up and down the court early and often. In Grant Hill and Steve Nash, players who have had Hall of Fame careers, the Suns still have great names. But those players are also in their 17th and 15th seasons, respectively, and are capable of showing only glimpses of their old greatness.