Suddenly, the 76ers aren’t everyone’s punching bag.
Michael Carter-Williams hit a running layup with 9.9 seconds left to lift Philadelphia to a 93-92 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
Tony Wroten had 20 points to lead Philadelphia, which won its second straight game for just the second time this season. It’s the 76ers third victory in the last four games. They won for the second time at home and are 7-12 since beginning the season 0-17.
"We try to stay pretty grounded and understand what we’re all about and what our purpose is," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. "(The 0-17 start) does seem a while ago. Whether what we’ve done lately has erased that stat, that fact from people’s minds, I don’t know."
David West tallied a season-high 28 points for the Pacers but came up short on a 13-footer at the buzzer that would have won it for Indiana. West had put the Pacers in front with a fadeaway 12-footer with 17.6 seconds left.
But Carter-Williams sent Philadelphia to the win with his layup eight seconds later. He also had nine assists
"We’ve been able to stop teams and guard teams, but they have some good guards and we just couldn’t stop their penetration," West said. "Carter-Williams made a heck of a play."
Carter-Williams, last season’s Rookie of the Year, avoided Pacers 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert on the winning basket.
"I knew I couldn’t go over the top because he’s a pretty good shot-blocker, so I went underneath and I was able to get it off," Carter-Williams said.
West had a chance to win it but was defended well by Luc Mbah a Moute on the final possession.
"They didn’t bite on the pick-and-roll, so it turned into a one-on-one at the top of the key," West said. "He just guarded it well and I wasn’t able to get any separation."
Robert Covington added 16 points for Philadelphia.
"They’re shooting the ball better and they’re just growing," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "You can see they’re putting in the work. Coach Brown is doing a great job with them and they’re improving, both in their play and their confidence."
Wroten made two highlight-reel passes in the fourth quarter, setting up JaKarr Sampson for an alley-oop dunk with 9:38 remaining and then bouncing the ball off the backboard for K.J. McDaniels’ breakaway jam.
"We just play together, man," Wroten said. "We play hard, regardless, and we never give up."
The jam gave Philadelphia an 84-77 advantage, matching its largest lead, with 7:28 left. But the Pacers scored 11 of the next 14 to go up 88-87 with just under 2 minutes, as Philadelphia missed nine straight shots.
Wroten’s layup put the 76ers back in front, 89-88 with 1:29 to play before Hibbert’s putback with 41 seconds remaining made it 90-89 Pacers.
The 76ers used a 12-3 run over the first five minutes of the third quarter to take a 53-52 lead. The Pacers struggled from the field in the quarter but stayed close thanks to free-throw shooting. Indiana made nine straight attempts from the stripe during one stretch.
Indiana entered one game behind Miami for the final playoff spot after winning eight of 14.
"We’re just going to have to make it up somewhere," West said. "We had gained some momentum over the last week and felt like we were playing some pretty solid basketball. We felt like this was an opportunity to keep it going. They just outplayed us down the stretch."
C.J. Miles left with 42.1 seconds left in the first quarter with a left eye abrasion and didn’t return. Miles was under the basket when Wroten accidentally hit him in the eye while following through on a layup attempt.
Philadelphia tied a season-high with 12 blocks.
Pacers: George Hill (strained left groin) missed his sixth straight game.
76ers: Little League star Mo’ne Davis of Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons sat courtside and threw T-shirts to the crowd during one break in the first half. … Former Sixers big man Darryl Dawkins also was in attendance.