Tony Wroten’s first career start resulted in the first triple-double of his life.
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Wroten had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, James Anderson scored a career-high 36 points and Spencer Hawes made the go-ahead basket with 34 seconds left in overtime to help the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Houston Rockets 123-117 Wednesday night.
Subbing for injured rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who didn’t play because of a bruised left arch, Wroten made a strong case for more playing time.
"First time for everything," he said. "I never had a triple-double at any level, not middle school, high school, anywhere."
Jeremy Lin scored 34 points for Houston, making a career-best nine 3-pointers that tied a franchise record. Dwight Howard had 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Chandler Parsons added 22 points.
Lin started for James Harden, who was out of Houston’s lineup because of a bruised left foot.
"It was my worst defensive game of the season," Lin said. "Tomorrow has to be my best defensive game of the season."
Two days after the Sixers were blown out by San Antonio in coach Brett Brown’s first game against his former team, they beat general manager Sam Hinkie’s former club.
Hinkie spent the last eight years in Houston and was the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Rockets before coming to Philadelphia.
The Sixers are off to a surprising 5-4 start that includes wins over Miami and Chicago. They’ve been far more competitive than expected. Oddsmakers predicted fewer than 17 wins.
"I’m proud of their competitive spirit," Brown said. "We have no right to have an inherent chemistry or camaraderie. We were thrown together in a few months. But the group trusts each other and enjoys playing together. They have resolve and a fighting spirit."
The Rockets missed 10 straight shots from late in the fourth quarter into overtime before Howard’s basket plus free throw tied it with 2:21 left in overtime. After Lin hit a 3 for a 112-111 lead, Thaddeus Young made two free throws.
Howard answered with a bucket, but Hawes put in Evan Turner’s miss to give the Sixers the lead for good. Young stripped Howard at the other end and Turner made two free throws to extend the lead to 117-114.
Francisco Garcia then missed a 3. After Anderson made two free throws, Lin made his last 3 to get the Rockets within two. But Hollis Thompson sealed it with two free throws.
Turner scored 23 and Hawes finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.
"Defensively, we made great plays, especially in crunch time," Hawes said.
Anderson made a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to tie it at 106 with 6.6 seconds left in regulation. After Parsons missed a long jumper, Wroten’s desperation 59-footer at the buzzer rattled the rim and fell out to send the game to overtime.
Down 90-80 to start the fourth quarter, the Sixers rallied behind Anderson and Hawes.
Hawes and Anderson hits 3s, and a turnaround jumper by Young pulled Philadelphia within 102-101 with 2:14 left. Wroten’s driving layup tied it at 103.
"I got in a rhythm early and guys did a good job finding me," Anderson said. "I finally got an opportunity and it’s great timing."
NOTES: Lin’s previous high was five 3s against Golden State last Feb. 5. … Robert Horry also had 9 3s for the Rockets at Cleveland on Feb. 22, 1996. … The Rockets play Lin’s old team, the Knicks, at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night to complete their back-to-back. … Neither Harden nor Carter-Williams had missed a game before this one. … Turner has five straight 20-point games. … Anderson was 6 of 8 from 3-point range after shooting 9 for 27 the first eight games. … Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels and his wife Heidi were recipients of the Sixers’ "Heroes Among Us" award for their charity work with children.