The 76ers once again showed they could be competitive for 3 quarters only trailing 79-74 entering the 4th. But Houston's 4th quarter experience and dominance of the glass denied Philadelphia (0-4) their first win. Final Score: Sixers 93, Rockets 104.
It looked like the game would be over early as the Rockets closed out the first quarter on a 13-2 run taking advantage of opportunities beyond the arc. The Sixers allowed 32 first quarter points which never a good way to start a game. However, they didn't call it quits and responded with a 11-2 run of their own to start the second quarter. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute knocked down a jump shot to give the Sixers a short-lived lead at the 7:00 mark in the second quarter. While Houston would pull ahead, Philadelphia did not let them run away with it. Back-to-back three pointers from KJ McDaniels in the final minute of the half put the Sixers within 1, 55-54, going into the break.
For the second game in a row, all ten Sixers who stepped onto the court in the first half scored. While its nice that they spread the ball around, its still obvious that they lack that go-to guy. Philly again shot over 50% in the opening half (54%) but were severely out-rebounded 23-13. Trevor Ariza led all scorers at the half with 19 points (5-6 3pt) while Davies paced the way for the 76ers with 9.
The 76ers fell behind early in the 3rd thanks to 4 straight turnovers leading to 8 points for the visiting team. But yet again another run (8-0) for Philly made it competitive at 72-68 before Houston called a timeout to regroup. James Harden turned up his offensive game in the second half continuing to get to the foul line and convert although Noel stuffed Harden at the rim to end the 3rd, preserving a 5 point deficit for the Sixers. The Rockets caught fire from deep with Isaiah Canaan connecting on 3 threes in the final quarter. At this point in the battle, Philly had lost the shooting touch they had in the first half and could stop Houston's offense. Philadelphia would lose 104-93.
Nerlens Noel was bullied on the boards, like the rest of the team, only securing 1 rebound. But the rookie contributed in other ways with 10 points, 1 block and career highs in 5 assists and 6 steals. Philadelphia lost the rebound battle 47-31. In fact, the rebound leader for the Sixers was Wroten, a point guard. Wroten led the team with 20 points and added 5 boards, 4 assists, and 5 steals. McDaniels scored 14 (3-4 3pt) off the bench. The Sixers shot a very respectable 45% from the floor and outstanding 50% from deep.
Harden scored 35 points for the Rockets while hitting 17 of 18 free throw attempts, more than the entire Sixers team converted. The star shooting guard also grabbed 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Ariza finished with 24 points and 7 assists while Howard added 11 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 rejections.
The Sixers will continue their homestand against the winless Magic on Wednesday. Some team will have to win.
By: Matt Ryan