Playing without rookie sensation Michael Carter-Williams, backup point guard Tony Wroten and James Anderson led the Sixers to a come from behind 123-117 overtime victory over the Houston Rockets.
The first three quarters of the game saw the Sixers and Rockets on the seesaw as the two teams exchanged leads up until the third quarter when Houston would take an eight point lead, the biggest lead of the game for either team.
James Anderson got off to a hot start for the Sixers hitting his first five shots from the field early on. Anderson is known as a spot up shooter, but the veteran guard put the ball on the floor tonight and converted easy buckets in the lane. This opened up opportunities for him behind the arc. Anderson turned in the best game of his young career scoring 36 points on 12 of 16 shooting.
Teaming up with Anderson, Tony Wroten was a force offensively for the Sixers tonight as well. Making his first career start, Wroten recorded his first career triple-double scoring a career high 18 points to go along with 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He is the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double in his first career start.
Houston dominated for much of the second half as Jeremy Lin, starting for the injured James Harden, hurt the Sixers on the offensive end. Linsanity went off for 34 points including a career high nine three pointers and 12 assists. Dwight Howard had a double-double with 23 points and 15 rebounds, but he had a negative impact when he was on the court in the fourth quarter.
With Houston hanging on to a small lead in the final minutes, the Sixers employed the Hack-a-Dwight strategy. Whenever Howard received the ball in the post, a Sixer would foul him and send him to the free throw line where he has struggled. This strategy worked like a charm and allowed the Sixers to come all the way back with under a minute left.
Down by three with six seconds remaining, James Anderson hit a clutch three pointer to send the game into overtime.
Houston’s offensive woes continued in overtime as the Rockets, without their superstar James Harden, failed to score a basket until Dwight Howard’s tip in off a rebound with just over two minutes remaining in overtime. The Rockets had missed their previous ten shots in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Sixers would pull ahead 113-112 with under two minutes remaining and would seal the victory with two free throws by Hollis Thompson in the closing seconds for a 123-117 victory.
Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner continued to play outstanding basketball for the Sixers. Turner netted 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists and has now scored twenty or more points in eight of the Sixers’ first nine games. Spencer Hawes played great post defensive against Dwight Howard, blocking him several times under the rim. He scored 18 points and collected eight rebounds on the night.
With tonight’s win, the Sixers improved to 5-4 on the young season. The team will host former Sixer Kyle Korver and the Atlanta Hawks Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.