8:00 PM ET, December 2, 2009
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Allen Iverson's return to Philadelphia can't come soon enough for the sliding 76ers.
"It just seems like we have to play a near-perfect game to snap out of this thing," Philadelphia coach Eddie Jordan said.
Word that Iverson, a 10-time All-Star who led the franchise to its most recent run of playoff success, would be coming back to Philly wasn't enough to keep the Sixers from suffering their longest losing streak since 2006.
"Every game, it's been something that's been getting us," said Willie Green, who scored 14 points for Philadelphia. "Whether it's executing down the stretch, whether it's making sure we get that last stop or making sure we're in sync on defense, we're half a step slow a little bit and hopefully we can just continue to get better and find a way to win a game."
Oklahoma City opened the second half on a 14-5 run to take a 68-61 lead on Thabo Sefolosha's 3-pointer from the left corner, and the Thunder led the rest of the way.
Andre Iguodala led Philadelphia with 28 points. Thaddeus Young scored 16 of his 20 in the first half, Jrue Holiday added 15 points and Elton Brand scored 13 points in his second game back after missing three games with a sore right hamstring.
The Sixers were outrebounded 23-13 in the second half and were outscored 8-0 on second-chance points.
"Those guys just kicked us on the boards. It might not show up tremendously dramatically in the numbers, but it was timely offensive rebounds and putbacks for them," Jordan said.
Collison, who had missed four games because of a sore right knee, helped put the game away with a right-handed hook shot and a tip-in in a string of six straight points for the Thunder that pushed the lead to 115-100.
He was pushed into extra action after Krstic sprained his left ankle in the final minute of the third quarter and did not return. Krstic had missed Oklahoma City's last game with a sore Achilles' tendon in the same foot.
"Our team has done well and it's been fun to be a part of that, but personally I haven't been able to play as well as I've wanted to," said Collison, who had also missed time with an ankle injury this season. "It was a good win tonight. Hopefully I'll be able to build on it and keep going."
Collison hit eight of his nine shots and had five of his seven rebounds on the offensive end.
"He came in at the right time. We needed that spark, that energy and he came in, took a few charges, got some putbacks. He helped us out," Jeff Green said. "He was that spark that got us over the top."
Philadelphia had been within 96-91 after Jason Kapono's 3-pointer with 7:57 to play, but Mike Wilks answered at the other end and the Thunder kept pulling away. It was the second-largest margin of defeat in the Sixers' current slide. Five of the losses have been by six points or less.
"We're close. We're always like hanging in at the end, and there's a breaking point where we always tend to go backwards instead of pushing through," Kapono said.
The 76ers announced earlier in the day that Iverson would be ending a brief retirement to return to the team he led to the NBA finals eight years earlier. Iverson isn't expected to join the Sixers until Monday, when they begin a five-game homestand, their longest of the season.
On Saturday, they'll complete a stretch playing seven out of eight games on the road. They're 0-7 so far. The last time the Sixers had lost more than seven games in a row was a 12-game skid in November and December 2006.
"He's a proven scorer, a winner, the toughest guy in the league. He's an asset and he's going to be a positive light for us," Kapono said. "We need to take care of our last game here. Hopefully we can get a win in Charlotte and then go back home, add him and go from there."
Oklahoma City is 8-0 when scoring at least 100 points. ... The teams combined to hit their first eight 3-pointers, five by Philadelphia and three by Oklahoma City. ... Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Leon Lett was in attendance. ... Durant's scoring total left him seven points short of 4,000 in his career. He would be the second-youngest player to reach that mark, behind only LeBron James.
OKLAHOMA CITY - DECEMBER 2: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots over Andre Iguodala #9 and...(Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||37-74 (.500)||43-85 (.506)|
|3PM-3PA||14-23 (.609)||12-24 (.500)|
|FTM-FTA||18-19 (.947)||19-23 (.826)|
|Fast Break Points||20||10|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||22 (0/0)||16 (0/0)|
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