Andre Igoudala led the Sixers with 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
Nobody is surprised that the Portland Trailblazers appear headed to the playoffs this season. With another year of experience, the return of a healthy Greg Oden, and the addition of Rudy Fernandez, the Blazers were poised to improve upon their 41-41 record last season.
The question heading into this season was which of the eight Western Conference playoff teams were the Blazers going to replace? The obvious choices were the Mavericks and the Nuggets.
But that might not be the case anymore.
The Nuggets' early season trade of Allen Iverson for Billups has given them newfound hope and they now find themselves atop the Northwest Division.
After a rocky 2-7 start, the Mavs have won eight of their last 10 games and are now a respectable 11-9. The turnaround is due in large part to the suddenly consistent play of Sixth Man of the Year front-runner Jason Terry, and his fellow reserve Jose Barea.
Barea, a third-year point guard from Puerto Rico, played his college ball at Northeastern University. He went undrafted in 2006 and was signed as a free agent by the Mavs after an impressive showing at the summer league in Las Vegas.
This season, Barea has provided an instant spark off the bench for Dallas and has found a way to coexist with Jason Kidd.
As a result, the Phoenix Suns have now emerged as a candidate to miss the playoffs. That comes as no surprise to general manager, Steve Kerr, who shook up his team yesterday by trading Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Sean Singletary to the Charlotte Bobcats for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley.
Richardson, who turns 28 next month, should provide more scoring for a team that didn't really need another scorer. It's a curious move considering that Amare Stoudemire has complained about his lack of touches this season and Richardson has averaged close to 17 shots per game over his eight-year NBA career.
On the other hand, Phoenix took advantage of a chance to trade two players whose respective values were decreasing by the day for the best player involved in the deal. It should be interesting to see if Suns head coach Terry Porter can make it work.
With three players on their way to Charlotte and Shaquille O'Neal attending the funeral of his great-grandmother in New Jersey, the Suns were forced to play the Lakers in Los Angeles Wednesday night with only nine players in uniform.
Surprisingly, the Suns kept the game close, but ultimately lost 115-110. Pau Gasol scored 28 points to lead the Lakers. Matt Barnes was the leading scorer for Phoenix with 25, 15 of them coming off of five 3-pointers.
The Lakers bounced back from an embarrassing loss to the Sacramento Kings the night before, but continue to struggle defensively. Wednesday night's game was the eighth time in their last 10 games that the Lakers have allowed their opponent to score 99 points or more.
Phil Jackson gave Luke Walton his first start of the season in place of Vladimir Radmanovic. Walton responded with eight points, six assists, two steals, and only one turnover in 23 minutes. Radmanovic never even took off his warm-ups.
The Lakers get the chance to avenge their loss to the Kings when they host them at Staples Center on Friday night.
Jay Triano got his first win as head coach of the Toronto Raptors. Jason Kapono scored 25 points and Chris Bosh had 21 points in helping the Raptors snap their five-game losing streak against the Pacers, 110-88. T.J. Ford scored four points for the Pacers against his old team, while Jermaine O'Neal had 10 points and four rebounds in his first game against the team he spent eight seasons playing for before the trade that brought him north of the border.
Chris Paul scored 15 points and dished out 15 assists for the Hornets in their 105-89 victory over the short-handed Bobcats. Rookie D.J. Augustin led Charlotte with 28 points. In addition to Richardson, the Cats were also missing Gerald Wallace, who was mourning the loss of his grandmother.
The Spurs won their fourth straight game behind 27 points from Manu Ginobili, beating the Atlanta Hawks 95-89. The Spurs outrebounded the Hawks 55-27. Tim Duncan, who played in his 1,000th career NBA game, recorded his fifth straight double-double. Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 29 points and Flip Murray scored 17 off the bench.
The Milwaukee Bucks can't get home soon enough after losing all three games of their road trip by a combined score of 349-298. Wednesday night it was the Warriors who beat up on the Bucks, 119-96. Stephen Jackson led seven Warriors in double-figures. Michael Redd scored 27 for the Bucks.
The Jersey Boys, Al Harrington and Tim Thomas, felt right at home in East Rutherford on Wednesday night. The two combined to score 65 points in leading the Knicks over their hometown Nets 121-109. It was the fourth time Harrington has led the Knicks in scoring since coming over from Golden State. Most Improved Player candidate Devin Harris led the Nets with 32 points.
The Memphis Grizzlies have their first winning streak of the season after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-102. The Grizzlies have now won back-to-back games for the first time since last March. Rudy Gay scored 22 points and rookie O.J. Mayo added 18. Kevin Durant scored 28 for Oklahoma City, who scored over 100 points for only the fifth time in 23 games this season.
After Wednesday's trade, only three Phoenix Suns remain from the team that lost to the Spurs in the 2007 Western Conference Finals -- Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, and Leandro Barbosa.
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