PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Danny Granger scored 24 points, and Roy Hibbert had 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers to their sixth straight win, 102-97 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.
The Pacers won their fifth straight road game and 10th of 11 overall and seem to be hitting their stride as the postseason nears. The Pacers play their final four games on the road and, barring a complete collapse, should earn the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Andre Iguodala scored 23 points for the Sixers in their third straight loss as they continue their late-season fade. They lead idle Milwaukee by only 1½ games for the eighth and final spot in the East. The Sixers play their final five games on the road, including April 25 at Milwaukee.
Thaddeus Young scored 19 points and Lou Williams had 18, both off the bench, for the Sixers.
David West had 13 points and George Hill added 12 for the Pacers, who made 13 of 24 3-point attempts.
Sparked by Tyler Hansbrough, the Pacers put away a Sixers team that came to life in the third quarter. The Sixers used a 13-2 run in the third to help turn a halftime deficit into a four-point lead.
The Sixers were badly outplayed a night earlier in a loss at short-handed Orlando and hoped the home finale would help them regain some needed momentum.
For a moment, with Jrue Holiday dunking on a fast break and Iguodala nailing a key 3, it seemed the Sixers had found their way.
It wouldn’t last.
The Sixers turned the ball over on their last three possessions of the third quarter — the first led to Dahntay Jones’ 3-pointer and the second to Leandro Barbosa’s layup that tied the score at 70. The Pacers failed to get a shot off in time off the third one before the quarter buzzer sounded.
No worries. The Pacers picked up in the fourth where they left in the third.
Hansbrough opened the quarter with a jumper, then showed some of that old “Psycho T” toughness in the paint, converting a three-point play. Granger stretched the lead with consecutive 3s and the Pacers were on their way toward their second win in two nights.
Oh, the Sixers tried to rally. Iguodala, though, was booed as he missed two free throws and the Sixers down seven points late in the game.
Young buried a late 3 to make it 98-95 in the final minute, but Williams missed a tying 3 and the Pacers avoided the late upset scare.
The Sixers, who started the season 20-9, are in serious trouble of missing the playoffs. At 31-30, they could come up short in their first winning record since 2004-05.
The Sixers had three starters fail to score in the first half and shot only 41 percent from the field. Granger hit three early 3s to lead the Pacers to a 47-42 halftime lead.
Notes: 76ers coach Doug Collins said he’s happy for Indiana team president Larry Bird that the Pacers have enjoyed a successful season after several lean years following their brawl with Detroit. Collins said, “there’s no finer basketball city than Indianapolis.” … Sixers great and Hall of Famer Julius Erving was at the game. … The Sixers went 19-14 at home. … The Pacers went 19-14 on the road.
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