76ers overcome fourth-quarter deficit to dump Rockets

HOUSTON -- The Philadelphia 76ers made the final run, and that was the one that counted.

Reserve Thaddeus Young scored 17 points, Willie Green added 15 and the 76ers overcame a 13-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 102-95 Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.

Philadelphia hadn't won four in a row since last March 11-17.

The 76ers charged in the first quarter but gave way to an Aaron Brooks-led run by the Rockets to take the halftime lead. Then, the 76ers proved they had the stronger will in the closing minutes.

"In the first half, the Rockets were working harder than we were and were getting to the free throw line and we weren't," Green said.

"Everybody contributed and it was a great team win. We are digging down, playing hard and making a playoff push."

Houston was in control much of the game, but the 76ers broke from a 60-47 deficit early in the third quarter and took the lead for good 90-88 with 4:42 to play on a basket by Andre Iguodala.

"I didn't take many shots but I knew Houston was an excellent defensive team and I tried to stay in the flow and pass the ball around to my teammates," Iguodala said. "I got a few good looks in the fourth quarter and they went down. They [Houston] fell asleep a bit."

Brooks scored 34 points for the Rockets and led a second quarter-surge that gave the Rockets a 57-47 halftime lead.

Iguodala had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Elton Brand added 13 points.

Kyle Lowry scored 14 points and Carl Landry had 13 for Houston.

The 76ers were trailing 76-66 with 1:41 left in the third quarter before they went on a 24-12 run. Rodney Carney's basket with 9:30 to play gave the 76ers their first lead since the second quarter, and Iguodala later put the Rockets ahead for good.

"We wanted more energy and better team defense in the game," 76ers coach Eddie Jordan said. "That's why I went to Jason [Smith]. He is a great help defender and I wanted his energy to give them some problems. I thought we guarded better on the perimeter."

Brooks snapped the Rockets out of a sluggish first quarter with 17 of his 19 first-half points in the second quarter, helping the Rockets to a 57-47 lead at halftime.

"It's really tough for a game that we pretty much controlled for three quarters," Brooks said. "They got hot at the end. I thought the difference between this game and our last game [101-83 victory over Memphis] was when we got up by 10 points, we put Memphis away.

"This time, we let them hang around the whole time and when you do that a team gets hot, they start hitting 3s and start feeling good about themselves and they kind of run away with it."

The 76ers were the early aggressors, jumping to a 22-9 first-quarter lead, but the Rockets started a rally late in the first period. Houston cut the Philadelphia lead to 26-22 by the end of the period.

Then, Brooks led the charge in the second quarter and the Rockets opened a 45-32 lead with 5:32 to play in the period after a 34-10 run. The 13-point lead was Houston's biggest of the first half.

Brooks' basket with 8:47 to play in the second quarter gave Houston its first lead of the game at 31-30. Brooks had four 3-point baskets in the second quarter.

"We didn't play well at all offensively," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "The fourth quarter you have got to make stops and we didn't really stop them the whole fourth quarter. We missed a lot of opportunities and you have got to execute in the fourth quarter if you're going to win."

Game notes
The 76ers hold a 64-62 all-time record against the Rockets. ... Brooks has hit at least one 3-point basket in his last 22 games. ... Dalembert extended his consecutive string of 10 or more rebounds to 14 games with 10 against the Rockets. ... It was the Rockets' first home loss in February in more than two seasons, after compiling a 17-0 record over that span. Lowry left the game early in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle.

Check out the team sites for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Houston Rockets for more game coverage.

NBA News