Iguodala notches season-high 29 to lead Sixers' romp over Blazers

PHILADELPHIA -- The winning streak has hit five all because Philadelphia can hit 3s. The explanation for the sudden surge in long-range makes is a simple one.

"Green light," said coach Tony DiLeo.

The 76ers are flooring it through their longest winning streak of the season.

Andre Iguodala scored a season-high 29 points, and Lou Williams had 14 to lead Philadelphia to its fifth straight victory, 100-79 over Portland on Wednesday night.

Iguodala made four of Philadelphia's season-high 11 3-pointers and just missed becoming the first Sixers player to score 30 points in a game this season.

"Coach is telling us, if you got it, shoot it," Iguodala said. "Stop passing up shots."

The only thing Philadelphia is passing is other teams in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Sixers have spent most of this season at the bottom of the league in 3-point shooting (31 percent), but handed the Trail Blazers their worst loss of the season with an 11-for-23 performance.

Not bad for a team that entered play 29th in the NBA from beyond the arc. The Sixers are 34-for-70 (49 percent) during their winning streak, a surprising sign of accuracy from a team that went a combined 0-for-19 in back-to-back games in late December.

Back then, Maurice Cheeks was the coach. DiLeo has a different perspective on going for 3.

"It does get contagious," DiLeo said. "When guys hit it, they know the next game they can hit it. They know the are free to shoot it."

Thaddeus Young made three 3s and finished with 11 points, and Andre Miller scored 12 points.

Brandon Roy led Portland with 27 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Portland was without Rudy Fernandez (foot), and coach Nate McMillan said the rookie will likely miss Thursday night's game in New Jersey. Steve Blake left in the first half because of a separated right shoulder.

"I'll definitely help and have the ball a lot more now with Blake being out," Roy said. "I have to be more aggressive earlier in the game to get us going."

All those 3s and that 22-point halftime lead was a needed cushion when Philadelphia opened the third missing shots all over the court. While the Sixers went without a field goal the first 6:27 of the quarter, Portland went on a 10-0 run that helped nudge the deficit to single digits.

The run was short lived and the Sixers blew the game open in the fourth quarter thanks to three 3-pointers, helping the sub-.500 Sixers (18-20) beat their third team with a winning record during this winning streak.

So much for that 1-5 trip.

"Guys are just playing with a lot of confidence right now," Iguodala said. "We feel like we can make any shot. We're shooting with a rhythm, we're shooting with confidence, and more than likely, it's going to go in."

Now comes the tricky part: working forward Elton Brand back into the lineup without messing with the fast-breaking, 3-point shooting team the Sixers have become without him. Brand could be back in the lineup for Friday's game against San Antonio, though Saturday's game at New York seems a more likely bet.

Brand, who hasn't played since he sustained a fracture and tear in his right shoulder on Dec. 17, returned to practice this week and he will be evaluated again on Thursday.

"Hopefully, he can come in and help us," Miller said.

Brand might not recognize Miller's style when he gets back.

Miller has become a surprising 3-point threat, shooting the 3 like he rarely has before over his 10-year career. The steady point guard hadn't made more than six in a season each of the last four years and made only five this season as of two weeks ago. But his 1-for-1 mark in the first half made him 6-for-7 in the last six games and he has 12 this season.

"They're open," was the quiet Miller's only explanation.

Perhaps coincidentally, Miller is in the final year of his contract.

Part of it, though, has to do with coach DiLeo's goal of Philadelphia making at least five 3s a game. They made four in the first quarter -- two from Iguodala -- and raced to a 31-15 lead. Williams opened second with another 3, prompting one fan to remark during a timeout "What team are we watching?"

Apparently, the kind of team that has become 3-point happy.

Samuel Dalembert ended the first half with an out-of-nowhere block and the fans, led by chairman Ed Snider, stood and applauded the Sixers as they left the court with a 55-33 lead. The 33 points was a season low for a first half for Portland.

"Our rhythm offensively wasn't very good and we're not really guarding anybody either," Roy said.

Game notes
The Sixers have won five of six at home after losing straight at the Wachovia Center over November-December. ... The Sixers are 7-7 against the West. ... The Trail Blazers missed out on moving 10 games above .500 for the first time since 2002-03.