- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2009

It’s safe to say the Philadelphia 76ers have the Washington Wizards‘ number this season.

With a 106-98 victory Wednesday over the host Wizards, the 76ers completed a four-game season sweep of Washington for the first time since 2002-03.

Although the game featured sloppy play out of both teams, the Wizards’ 21 turnovers led to 30 Philadelphia points.

“We gave them easy opportunities, and they didn’t really have to run anything on their offensive end, and they got shot attempts up,” Wizards forward Antawn Jamison said. “This team plays at a fast pace, and they always like to get you on your heels, and their defense caused a lot of easy layups, so that was the biggest difference in the third and fourth quarter. Otherwise, it was a pretty squared-up basketball game.”

Andre Iguodala finished with 22 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds for Philadelphia, which committed 19 turnovers of its own. Five other 76ers players scored in double digits. Caron Butler led five Wizards players in double figures with 17 points.

“We were outworked and outexecuted, bottom line,” Wizards coach Ed Tapscott said. “There were portions of the game where we had control, we had order, had some discipline to us, and we came out with the lead in the first quarter. Then they started getting into us, and from that point on up until the last six or seven desperate minutes, they outworked and outexecuted us.”

The Wizards jumped out to an 11-5 lead and remained in front until the Sixers went on a 12-4 run to erase a 20-14 deficit. Butler drilled a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left to give his team a 29-26 advantage heading into the second quarter.

The teams exchanged leads five times in the remaining portion of the first half before Philadelphia struck last to take a 56-53 lead into halftime.

And then the Wizards fell apart.

The 76ers closed out the third on an 11-3 run, and their lead swelled to 82-67. Washington committed nine third-quarter turnovers, which the 76ers cashed in for 14 points.

Philadelphia led by as many as 18 points in the fourth and remained in front by double digits until the final 80 seconds. Washington cut the lead to six with 8.6 seconds left before Andre Miller knocked down a pair of free throws to seal the win.

Note - The loss came in front of a sparse crowd that was announced at 16,505 with clusters of empty seats abundant in the 20,173-seat arena. Before the game, team president Ernie Grunfeld held a “town hall” meeting with season-ticket holders, giving them an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns about the team. After the meeting, each season-ticket holder was given two free tickets to upper-deck seats. A handful of recipients said they went outside Verizon Center before the game and couldn’t give the tickets away.

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