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 76ers rule the paint in 109-94 win over Hawks

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PostSubject: 76ers rule the paint in 109-94 win over Hawks   Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:52 pm

ATLANTA(AP) Andre Iguodala is helping the Philadelphia 76ers win without Elton Brand.The Atlanta Hawks now must learn if they shake a losing streak without Al Horford.Iguodala
took advantage of the absence of Horford to score 27 points, and
Philadelphia dominated near the basket to beat the Atlanta Hawks 109-94
on Sunday.The 76ers, who have their first four-game winning
streak of the season, scored 56 points in the paint and had a combined
49 points by their starting forwards. Thaddeus Young added 22 points
and nine rebounds for Philadelphia."It seems like we're getting it together a little bit,'' said 76ers guard Andre Miller, who had 19 points.Iguodala
is averaging 22.3 points the last six games as the 76ers have regained
momentum after losing Brand for a month to a dislocated shoulder on
Dec. 17."We felt we had a chance to come in and steal a win,''
Iguodala said. "They had two tough losses against Orlando the last two
games for them. So we just tried to come out and establish ourselves
early and keep it going throughout the game.''Horford, Atlanta's
second-year center, sustained a bone bruise on his right knee in Friday
night's loss at Orlando. He won't be with the team for its three-game
road trip that begins Tuesday in Phoenix.Joe Johnson, who led the Hawks with 25 points, refused to blame the loss on Horford's injury."It's
part of the NBA,'' Johnson said. "There are going to be injuries.
That's not an excuse for why we're losing. We're just not playing with
energy at the start of the game.''The Hawks, who won nine of
their last 10 games in December, have lost three straight games,
including the humiliating 121-87 loss in Orlando on Friday.Philadelphia scored the first 10 points. Atlanta fought back but trailed after the opening minutes of the second period."I
think Orlando took some starch out of us a little bit,'' Hawks coach
Mike Woodson said. "We're not competing defensively like we have been,
and that's on me. I've got to get them back playing defense because
that's the only chance we have of winning.''Slow starts have become a disturbing trend for the Hawks."It's a big concern because we just don't have any energy at all,'' Johnson said.Woodson said his players "are kind of in a rut right now'' and "kind of looking over their shoulders a little bit.''Iguodala
and Young each had two baskets in the opening 10-0 run, and Iguodala's
second dunk of the first three minutes pushed the lead to 12-3."We
controlled the pace of the game for most of the game,'' said 76ers
coach Tony DiLeo. "Right from the beginning we got out on the break,
and I thought we established that.''Rookie forward Marreese Speights had 12 points and eight rebounds.While the 76ers scored near the basket, the Hawks leaned on their perimeter game. Mike Bibby had 22 points.The
Hawks trailed 95-90 following a basket by Johnson, but Speights scored
after his offensive rebound to start an 8-0 run that pushed the lead to
103-90."I think both teams were a little tired,'' Miller said.
"We were able to fight through it and get some easy baskets off their
turnovers. That was a big part of the game.''Atlanta held its
last lead at 35-32 early in the second period before former Hawks guard
Royal Ivey's 3-pointer tied the game and started a 9-0 run which gave
the 76ers the lead for good.Notes: The 76ers took a 39-24
advantage in rebounds. ... Horford wore a sleeve on his right knee as
he was not in uniform but sat on the bench. He said he was injured on
an awkward landing following a rebound. ... Zaza Pachulia started for
Horford but had only four points and six rebounds. ... The 76ers made
62.9 percent of their shots in the first half - a high mark for Atlanta
opponents this season - and shot 54.7 percent for the game.

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