PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Samuel Dalembert was so physically dominant
Wednesday night that even his teammates were complaining.
Dalembert had 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia
76ers to a 99-94 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
"You elbowed me like four times tonight," Sixers forward Kenny
Thomas told Dalembert.
Dalembert threw plenty of elbows while patrolling the paint,
blocking three shots and grabbing a career-high 10 offensive
"How big was Sammy tonight? Sammy was outstanding," interim
coach Chris Ford said. "I don't know how many blocked shots he
had, but he certainly changed a lot of shots and was just
relentless on the boards."
Eric Snow had 19 points and three key free throws with 20.6
seconds remaining for the Sixers, who were without injured All-Star
Allen Iverson for the second straight game.
Iverson was out because of a sore right knee and was not on the
bench during the game. Philadelphia moved to 6-1 in its last seven
games without Iverson. When second-leading scorer Glenn Robinson
also is out, Philadelphia is 8-2.
"Our mind-set is that we have to play every game like it's our
last," Dalembert said. "That's what we did tonight. Everybody
stepped up, so I was really excited."
Joe Johnson scored 27 points for the Suns, who had won two in a
row. Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudamire had 24 apiece.
Johnson, coming off a career-high 31-point performance, made 11
of 21 shots and had eight assists. He had eight straight points on
a 3, a layup, a free throw and a jumper to put the Suns ahead 74-60
with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter.
The Sixers then chipped away and cut the lead to two points with
4:25 remaining in the game on a layup and a free throw from Snow.
After a steal by Willie Green, Kyle Korver nailed a wide-open 3
from the corner to give Philadelphia its first lead of the second
Green, who had 18 points, made a 19-footer on the next
possession to close out a 19-4 run.
Phoenix got three straight free throws to pull within two points
with 24 seconds remaining, but Snow sank two foul shots and stole
the ball from Johnson at the other end of the floor. Snow was
fouled and hit one more free throw to close the scoring.
The Sixers were 14-for-15 from the line in the final quarter.
Thomas and Snow combined to make 22 of 25 in the game.
"Veteran leadership," Ford said of Snow's final minute. "He
just made the big plays for us, made some great defensive stops,
took a charge, got in there and dug out some loose balls."
Phoenix shot a season-high 57 percent in Tuesday's win over
Cleveland and remained hot early against the Sixers.
Johnson missed his first two shots, then sank six straight. The
Suns shot 63 percent in the first quarter and went 20-for-37 in the
first half to lead 53-45 at the break.
But the Suns appeared sluggish during the second half, shooting
37 percent as the Sixers turned up the defense and energy.
"For us, it's about experience," Marion said. "It's about
closing out games. When we get a lead, we have to learn to keep it
for the whole game."
The Sixers won their fifth straight at home and are 7-2 in
Philadelphia since Ford took over for Randy Ayers on Feb. 11.<
^Notes: Phoenix C Jake Voskuhl missed his fifth consecutive game
with a left foot injury. ... Sixers F Marc Jackson (left foot
stress reaction) underwent an MRI on Monday and was fitted for a
hard cast. Interim coach Chris Ford said Jackson, who missed his
47th game of the season, probably will miss the rest of the regular
season. ... After scoring a career-high 21 points in Monday's win
over Dallas, Sixers guard John Salmons had eight. ... Marion and
Stoudamire combined to go 17-for-18 from the line. ... Of their
remaining 10 games, the Sixers play seven at home and just three
against teams at or above .500.