The Philadelphia 76ers were hoping a return visit to the Toyota Center in Houston would yield similar results to their most recent fortunes they’ve experienced at the expense of the hometown Rockets. Winning their last four in Houston and seven of the last eight against the Rockets, Wednesday night appeared to be the perfect remedy for the 76ers to right the ship and end their season-high four game losing streak. Well, nobody told the Rockets that.
The Rockets used a 32-point fourth quarter and some clutch plays from ex-Villanova standout and Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry late in the game to fight off the 76ers 93-87. The streak is now at five games.
Lowry had mentioned before the game that he had looked forward to playing against the 76ers, and it turns out his 16.3 PPG against the 76ers is the highest among any opponent. While he didn’t drop 36 points on his hometown team like he did in a loss last year, Lowry converted back-to-back three point plays late in the fourth which all but sealed a Rockets win. Lowry finished the night with 13 points, eight rebounds, and five assists—despite missing almost the entire first period nursing an ankle he rolled in the beginning of the game.
Joining Lowry in double figures were five other Rockets, including a 19-point and 10 rebound performance by Luis Scola. The 76ers simply had no answer for Scola as he had his way all three big-men the 76ers threw at him. After watching Scola dominate Lavoy Allen, Thaddeus Young, and Nikola Vucevic, it is rather dumbfounding that Wednesday night was just his third double-double of the season. Kevin Martin, Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson, and Goran Dragic were the other double figure scorers, and add Martin’s name to the list of players that killed the 76ers in the fourth quarter.
Harassed by 76ers and possibly the NBA’s best perimeter defender in Andre Iguodala, Martin struggled for the first three quarters making just one shot. Iguodala started the fourth on the bench and Martin proceeded to make 4-6 from the field as Jodie Meeks and Evan Turner couldn’t disrupt the sharpshooter.
With the 76ers struggling to find offense in games as of late, the script looked oh so familiar in the first tonight. It took the 76ers almost ten minutes to register their tenth point of the opening frame, just a day removed from being outscored 30-10 in the first quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Rookie Nikola Vucevic made his four shots of the game and was the only consistent 76er on the court, finishing with 18 points and eight rebounds. Lou Williams scored nine of his 17 points from the charity stripe and Thaddeus Young added 15 points before fouling out. Young had his hands full with Scola and Patrick Patterson in the post and trying to defend the two Rocket big men seemed to have gotten the best of him. Along with Jrue Holiday, Young looked out of whack all night. Holiday struggled to even stay on the court as he had four fouls in just ten minutes of play midway through the third quarter.
The 76ers will go into the All-Star break with a 20-14 record and a three game lead over the resurgent New York Knicks in the Atlantic Division. Hopefully, the team can simplify some things over the break and snap out of their funk. Getting Spencer Hawes and Elton Brand would also be a big plus.
Not Your Typical 76ers:
Wednesday night the 76ers failed to make a single three-point field goal for the first time since 12/23/08 against the Boston Celtics. For just the second time this season the 76ers committed more turnovers (13) than assists (12). The other time was in a loss in their only matchup so far against the division rival Knicks (14 turnovers, 10 assists).
About the Author
Written by Mike Rapine
Graduated last year from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Mathematics with a focus in Statistics. I was a member of their baseball team and overall have a sense of sports from not just the average fan's perspective. Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where we fall in love with our sports teams each year, despite the preconceptions of a playoff demise ultimately happening. Obviously, any opinions are personal in nature and should be taken as my own.