PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Thaddeus Young scored 24 points, Elton Brand had 22 points and nine rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Phoenix Suns 105-95 on Monday night.
Evan Turner and Lou Williams each scored 14 points for a Sixers team that was hot from the beginning. The Sixers shot nearly 60 percent for most of the game and built a 22-point lead in the third quarter.
The Sixers won their 14th home game, two more than last season. Coach Doug Collins and the rest of the team are openly talking about catching New York for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
More nights like this one and they might get there.
Brand scored nine points in the third quarter as the Sixers started to pull away as part of an energetic effort.
Jared Dudley led the Suns with 23 points, and Steve Nash had 17 points and nine assists.
After a 3-0 start to their road trip, the Suns finished with losses to sub-.500 teams Detroit and Philadelphia. They scored fewer than 80 points in a game for the first time vs. the Pistons and didn’t break 80 in this one until there was 4:40 left in the game.
By that point, the Sixers already scored 101 points and were chasing their season-high total of 123, also set against the Suns. They fell off the pace down the stretch, but Brand and Young were potent inside: A combined 21 for 32 from the field with 16 rebounds.
The Sixers scored 61 points in the first half, only four shy of their season-high total for a half, also set against the Suns.
The Sixers caused turnovers, thrived on the break and dunked their way to one of their most acrobatic games of the season. The highlight came on back-to-back plays late in the second quarter that wowed the crowd.
Jrue Holiday turned a steal into a fastbreak dunk, then Andre Iguodala set up Young with a perfect pass for a dazzling alley-oop that gave them a 10-point lead.
The Sixers kept it close to the rim and played like the best of the run-and-gun Suns days.
About the only Sixers missing out on the fun was Iguodala, who scored eight points in his 32 minutes, down from his 14.3 average.
Holiday got the better of Nash when he stripped the veteran of the ball, dashed down the court and fed Iguodala for a two-handed alley-oop and a 73-55 lead. The Sixers were lobbing passes and slamming them home like they do in pregame warmups.
The Suns didn’t get hot until late in the fourth, using an 11-0 run to get within 10. With a minute left, it was too late for a team that hoped a revamped roster after a December trade with Orlando would be tougher defensively.
Notes: The start of the game was delayed 10 minutes because of a problem with the rim/backboard. … Suns coach Alvin Gentry was whistled for a technical. … The Sixers are 16-12 after a 3-13 start.
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