After ending the first quarter down by 3, Philadelphia started the second looking impressive as James Anderson hit a three to tie it up, and Darius Morris scored for the Sixers to take the lead. The Rockets would retake the game with 2:47 remaining off an open three from Chandler Parsons. After the timeout, Spencer Hawes would knot it back up as he threw up a prayer after having his first shot blocked and having the shot clock wind down. Evan Turner would give them the lead on the next trip down. A little surprisingly, Brett Brown elected to have his team use the "Hack-a-Howard' technique twice, forcing Dwight Howard to the line, with over a 1:30 left in the half. The 76ers led at the half 60-57. James Anderson led the Sixers at the break with 15 points, connecting on alll 6 of his first half attempts. Jeremy Lin and Dwight Howard both had 16 points for Houston.
Houston would seize control for the entire 3rd quarter as Jeremy Lin caught fire from beyond the arc. Philadelphia played well in transition, getting back on defense and not allowing the Rockets a fast break point into late in the third, but Houston was feeling it from long range. Howard often drew the double team in the post, leaving four Rockets on the perimeter ready to find the open man for the shot. The Sixers still lack a talented big man in the post and it was obvious in this matchup. Philadelphia had many chances underneath or around the rim (with and without Dwight Howard defending) after beautiful entry passes, but no one had the finesse touch or power to put it in. The Rockets led 90-80 at the end of the third.
The Sixers picked up their intensity midway through the final quarter. James Anderson continued his break-out night as he hit a three in transition to cut the game to 3 with 2:40 left to play. Hawes would get a block and on the next play down Thad Young was able to capitalize on the mismatch in the post. Wroten continued the run and tied the game at 103 with 1:30 remaining. Chandler Parsons would hit 1 of 2 free throws. Anderson would get blocked at the rim and after a steal the Sixers would lose the ball in transition and be forced to foul. Beverly made it a 3 point game with :18 seconds left on the clock. After it looked as though Wroten dribbled himself into a trap beneath the basket, he lobbed it out to Anderson who drilled the three with a hand in his face. Anderson was feeling it all night hitting 6 threes on the night. Philadelphia's defense forced a bad shot and the game would go into overtime.
Turner would be the first to score in overtime, giving Philadelphia their first lead since the beginning of the 3rd. The Sixers defense continued to bother Houston in OT keeping them scoreless until the 2:20 minute mark. After a timeout the Rockets would get a 3-point play from Howard and on the next possession Lin would hit another three to take the lead. Young would be fouled in transition and hit both to put the Sixers back in front. Howard hit a hook shot against Hawes but Hawes would have a huge putback as the lead changed hands again. Philadelphia led 115-114 with :29 left. Thad Young swiped the ball from Howards blind side after a double team and Turner would hit both from the line and put the Sixers up by 3. Garcia would airball a three but after 2 made foul shots by Anderson, Lin would hit his 9th three of the night to cut it to 2. Thad hit 2 clutch foul shots to lock up the comeback win.
James Anderson was the hands-down player of the game. He ended with a career-high 36 points (6 threes) on 12 of 16 shooting and also added 3 steals. Tony Wroten played extremely well in MCW's absence. He actually recorded a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Turner scored 23 and grabbed 7 rebounds. Hawes had Howard work as he finished with 18 points, 9 boards, 3 blocks and 3 steals. Young added 15 and 8 rebounds and some important free throws down the stretch. The Sixers did not shoot well (41.7%), but they limited their turnovers with only 13, and had 27 fast break points.
Lin played 49 minutes for the Rockets and scored 34 and dished out 12 assists. Howard secured 15 rebounds and had 6 blocks to add to his 23 points. Houston struggled from the line, only hitting 64% and had 19 turnovers. The Rockets had an impressive 15 blocks as a team.
The 76ers go on the road Friday night to play the Hawks in Atlanta.
By: Matt Ryan
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