SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - All five starters rested comfortably on the bench the entire fourth quarter Friday night for the Philadelphia 76ers.
It was that easy of a victory for a team that's making a huge second-half push.
There was no need for any fourth-quarter minutes for the starters, who helped build a 26-point lead through three quarters. Jrue Holiday had 15 points and nine rebounds in helping the 76ers coast past the Sacramento Kings, 102-80.
The victory moved the 76ers ahead of the New York Knicks into sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia is a half-game in front of the Knicks and three behind Atlanta, which is fifth.
``(Other) teams got losses and we get wins our last two games, so it was another good night for us,' 76ers coach Doug Collins said.
There have been a lot of good nights of late for the 76ers, which certainly wasn't the case early in the season.
It's been a turnaround season for Philadelphia, which won only 27 games a year ago. After a horrible 1-10 start under new coach Collins, the Sixers have become a formidable team, going 23-12 since a Jan. 3 loss in New Orleans.
``He brought in a new system and has held us all accountable,' veteran Elton Brand said. ``We were all disappointed by the 3-12 start, no one was happy about that. We took it upon ourselves to all work hard and get better.'
The 76ers were certainly better than the Kings in practically every area. Struggling Sacramento shot 34 percent, committed 22 turnovers that led to 27 Philly points, and was never in the game after the opening quarter. It got so bad that disgruntled Kings fans were booing, a rarity at Power Balance Pavillion.
The struggles continue for the Kings, who own the worst record (16-51) in the Western Conference and could be headed to Anaheim next season. The Maloof ownership was granted a relocation extension until April 18, five days after the regular-season ends. The Maloofs will have the opportunity to discuss their options at the NBA Board of Governors meetings on April 14-15.
``This was a bad game for us, I don't blame the fans for booing,' Kings coach Paul Westphal said. ``It wasn't good basketball by us.'
DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, who have lost eight of nine. Omri Casspi scored 14 points and Beno Udrih had 13.
Lou Williams added 14 points and Andre Iguodala had 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the 76ers. Iguodala will rest his sore right knee Saturday against Portland, the final game on the team's five-game road trip.
After dominating the first half, the 76ers came out strong again in the third quarter. Jodie Meeks scored seven points in the first 6 minutes, including a 3-pointer at the 6:06 mark that put Philadelphia ahead 68-42.
Iguodala credited defense for the lopsided victory. The 76ers had a season-high 16 steals and blocked five shots in beating the Kings for a sixth straight time.
``The Kings are a high-turnover team,' said Iguodala, who had three steals, one less than Holiday. ``You don't have to gamble or be aggressive and go for steals against them to get turnovers. We just let them make the mistakes.'
Holiday scored all his points in the first half for Philadelphia, which shot 48 percent and led 55-38.
The game was the first meeting between Philadelphia center Spencer Hawes and his Kings counterpart, Samuel Dalembert, who spent eight seasons with the 76ers. The two were traded for each other in the offseason.
Hawes, drafted by the Kings in 2007 as a 19-year-old with one year of college ball, was greeted with applause when the starting lineups were announced. He is enjoying a playoff run for the first time after three losing seasons with the Kings.
``It's great. You have so much on the line every night,' said Hawes, who had six points, six rebounds and four assists. ``Playing with so much on the line this time of year is really fun.'
Notes: Holiday scored 12 first-quarter points for the 76ers, who ran off 11 straight and led 32-23. ... Marcus Thornton appeared injured when he slipped and fell underneath the Kings' basket late in the first quarter. He was on the floor for several minutes, but eventually walked slowly to the bench, then returned to play the entire second quarter. ... The Kings shot 32 percent and had 12 first-half turnovers that resulted in 15 points for the 76ers. ... Meeks had made two or more 3-pointers in 10 straight games, but hit just one against the Kings. The streak was the longest by a 76ers player since Kyle Korver's 19-game run in 2004-05.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved