The Sixers have won six straight for the first time since January of 2009. They improved to 7-2 on the season with their thumping of the Kings, 112-85.
The Sixers defensive brilliance continued as they held Sacramento to 39.5 percent shooting (4 of 19 from three-point range).
Once again the Sixers, who lead the NBA in rebounding, won the battle on the backboard, 46-43.
The Sixers faced a team for a second straight night that was without its leading scorer. Marcus Thornton, who averages 19 points, was out for the Kings because of a left thigh contusion.
As it would turn out, the Sixers were not 100 percent healthy either.
Spencer Hawes played 11 first-half minutes. He attempted just one shot but had three assists. At halftime, the Sixers announced he would not return because of a lower-back strain. He was limited to 17 minutes in the game against Toronto because of the injury but came back and played 28 minutes Monday, scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
The 11-0 run to start the third quarter grew the Sixers lead to 21 in 3:07. This kind of burst to start the second half has become the Sixers staple. If they are maligned for their slow starts (down 15-12 with 3:32 to play in the first quarter), they should be applauded for their third-quarter outbursts.
The Sixers won the third quarter, 32-18.
Follow the leaders
When a team is playing three games in three nights and five games in six nights, fresh legs are needed. Elton Brand played just 18 minutes Monday, leaving him spry to face the Kings.
Brand led all scorers with a season-high 21. He also grabbed 10 rebounds for his second double-double and added three blocks for good measure.
Jrue Holiday bounced back from a poor statistical night on Monday, making 8 of 13 shots for 17 points. He added six rebounds, eight assists, four steals and three turnovers. That was four less turns than 24 hours earlier.
The Sixers bench made 7 of 8 field goal attempts in the first quarter. They have scored at least 40 points in eight of the nine games, averaging 44 for third-highest in the NBA behind the reserves of Dallas and Denver.
Take a bow
Jodie Meeks had a 10-point third quarter, making 3 of 4 threes. He now has 11 made threes on the season. But it was his pull-up jumper from 12 feet at the 6:52 mark of the fourth quarter that sent the arena in a tizzy. His jumper gave the Sixers 100 points, which meant free Big Macs for everyone in attendance.
There were a couple other plays that deserve kudos.
Lou Williams reverse layup to beat the buzzer at the end of the first quarter was a thing of beauty. His speed and clock recognition allowed the Sixers to end the period up six points.
Despite his ailing back, Hawes made a terrific bounce pass to a cutting Williams. Hawes is one of four NBA centers averaging at least three assists per game.
The Sixers will make their lone appearance of the season at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, completing their first of two back-to-back-to-back sets. The Knicks are 5-4 and have won three straight, sitting one spot behind the Sixers, who continue to lead the Atlantic Division.
Its been some time since the Sixers and Knicks were off to winning seasons at the same time.
Things started looking up for both franchises last spring. In April, the two met with both teams jockeying for postseason position. The Knicks came to town with a 39-38 mark and the Sixers were 40-38. New York won by five. They ended up the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, while the Sixers were the No. 7 seed.