Rockets 96, 76ers 91
For the second time in a week, a shot in the closing seconds kept the Philadelphia 76ers from getting back in the win column.
Aaron Brooks made a jumper with 8.8 seconds remaining, and the Houston Rockets handed the 76ers their 12th straight loss, 96-91 on Friday night.
``Coach said to spread the floor and see if you can get a shot,'' Brooks said of his game-sealing jumper. ``That's what happened.''
Brooks had 16 of his 19 points in the second half, including two 3-pointers as the Rockets went on a 13-0 run in the third quarter and never looked back.
The Rockets have won five of their last six, with four of those victories coming on the road.
``A terrific win for us,'' Houston coach Rick Adelman said. ``We were flat in the first quarter. The bench did a great job getting us in the game.''
Carl Landry came off the Rockets bench and led the team with 20 points, going 12 for 14 from the free throw line. Chase Budinger added 15 points and Kyle Lowry, who went to Villanova, had 11 points.
Houston's reserves outscored the Philadelphia bench 46-6.
Allen Iverson, in his third game back after his short retirement, shot 7 of 18 from the field and had 12 of his 20 points in the fourth as Philadelphia charged back. His pull-up jumper with 1:06 remaining pulled the Sixers within three points.
Elton Brand, who scored 19 points and added 10 rebounds, then missed a 16-foot jumper before Luis Scola got the rebound. On the ensuing play, Brooks penetrated before connecting with the 18-footer that basically put it away.
``We let them back into the game and they got confidence,'' Iverson said. ``Everything went uphill for them and downhill for us.''
Philadelphia coach Eddie Jordan knows that although the 76ers (5-18) last won on Nov. 18 against Charlotte, the players in the locker room haven't been lost just yet.
``We know that we are not going to play a perfect game, but we did play hard, we did play smart for the most part,'' he said. ``We are all going to make mistakes. The locker room is solid. They are professionals. They come to work every day and they are still playing together.''
It's Philadelphia's longest skid since also dropping 12 in a row from Nov. 25-Dec. 20, 2006. The 76ers traded Iverson near the end of that losing streak.
Reserve guard Willie Green tried to remain positive despite another tough loss, following Wednesday's defeat against Detroit on Rodney Stuckey's late jumper.
``Right now is the time to try to stay positive because it's easy to tuck your tails between your legs and go hide,'' Green said. ``But you have to continue to fight and stay together and hopefully things change for us.''
Philadelphia got off to a quick start and led by as many as 17 points in the first quarter and all seemed well, leading 29-10. Andre Iguodala scored 12 of his 24 points in the first for the 76ers, who fell to 0-8 against Western Conference teams.
``I don't think we're mad enough,'' Iguodala said. ``We got to go out there and be angry. I'm trying to remain positive but it comes to a point where we'vee just got to get to the nitty gritty and start winning.''
The Rockets (13-9) then bounced back in the second quarter as Trevor Ariza, who scored 13 points and had 12 rebounds, followed his missed free throw by stealing a pass from Thaddeus Young and hitting a jumper as time expired to make it 51-48.
Scola, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds, made a basket early in the third quarter to give the Rockets their first lead at 52-51. Brand's basket gave Philadelphia a brief 54-53 lead, but the Rockets then went on to grab a 68-55 lead on the 13-0 run, keyed by two 3-pointers by Brooks and six points by Ariza. NOTES: A crowd of 13,991 attended the game after over 20,000 attended Iverson's first game back. ... The 76ers have scored below 100 points in each of their last three games after topping the century mark in their three prior games. ... Samuel Dalembert grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.