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Rockets blow big lead in loss

AS poorly as they were playing, the Philadelphia 76ers knew they still had time to catch the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. Thanks mostly to Andre Iguodala, they did.

Iguodala hit a baseline jumper with 36 seconds left and finished with 20 points to help the Sixers overcome a late 14-point deficit in a 95-93 victory over the Rockets in Houston, Texas.

"We just keep going 'til the clock says zero,'" Iguodala said.

Andre Miller added 16 points and seven assists, and Louis Williams had 17 points for the 76ers, 9-2 in their last 11. Elton Brand had 14 points, seven rebounds and a season-high six blocks in his third game back from a dislocated shoulder.

The Sixers improved to 13-8 under coach Tony DiLeo, who replaced Maurice Cheeks on December 13.

"It has to be one of the top victories," DiLeo said. "I really like coaching this team. Great attitude, great effort every night."

In other games, it was: Hornets 94, Nuggets 81; Celtics 119, Kings 100; TrailBlazers 88, Bobcats 74; Knicks 112, Hawks 104; Pistons 98, Timberwolves 89; Mavericks 117, Warriors 93; Pacers 107, Bucks 99; Raptors 107, Nets 106; Heat 93, Wizards 71; Bulls 95, Clippers 75; and Thunder 114, Grizzlies 102, OT.

Tracy McGrady scored 24 points, and Luis Scola had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Houston. The Rockets have lost three of their last four, even as McGrady, Ron Artest and Yao Ming have finally gotten healthy.

The Rockets led 76-71 after three quarters and 82-75 with 9 minutes left. But Williams found Marreese Speights for an alley-oop dunk to trigger a quick 6-0 run that started the Rockets' collapse.

Miller's free throws with 3:29 to go broke an 89-all tie and Iguodala hit a long jumper just before the shot clock expired near the 2-minute mark to make it 93-89.

"We could've easily been out of that game, but we stuck to it," said Miller. "A few plays just fell our way. We just kept fighting. Andre hit some big shots down the stretch."

Yao Ming drove for a layup with 56 seconds left, but Iguodala sank a tough shot from the baseline 20 seconds later to restore Philadelphia's four-point edge.

Yao flipped in a hook shot on Houston's next possession and got fouled by Samuel Dalembert. But Yao missed the free throw and the Sixers led 95-93 with 28 seconds left.

Iguodala missed a long jumper and the ball bounced out of bounds with 5.8 seconds remaining. The Rockets tried to run a pick-and-roll play with Yao, but Dalembert alertly switched and partially deflected McGrady's last-second 3-point try.


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