Suns 111, 76ers 104
Feb. 27, 1997
PHOENIX (AP) _ As soon as Kevin Johnson came to terms with his role as shooting guard, his numbers went off the chart.
Johnson, relegated to No. 2 in the Phoenix backcourt by the acquisition of Jason Kidd, had a season-high 36 points Wednesday night as the Suns held on for a 111-104 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Johnson scored 12 points in each of the last two quarters.
Kidd had 19 points and 13 assists, three of them to Johnson in the final five minutes for baskets that kept the Sixers at bay.
Johnson said he decided at practice Tuesday he had to accept Kidd as the Suns' future point guard. Kidd, who missed 22 games with a broken collarbone, returned seven games again and has started the last five straight.
``I figured this is the way it's going to be the rest of the season, and I've got to make the most of it and try to come out aggressive and try to do some things I wasn't doing at the 2-guard, energy-wise, and today it just worked out,'' Johnson said.
Kidd added seven rebounds and a season-high six steals as Phoenix won its 11th straight at home over Philadelphia.
``KJ obviously was huge,'' coach Danny Ainge said. ``I thought that combination of those two guys, KJ and Jason, was terrific, especially down the stretch.''
Jerry Stackhouse had 28 points and Derrick Coleman 17 for the Sixers, who played part of the second half with Allen Iverson on the bench with foul trouble.
``There's going to be more nights like this in my career, if I stay in the league that long, where guys get out on me, and there will be nights when I'll get out on them,'' Iverson said.
The Suns posted up Johnson on Iverson, and the rookie picked up his fourth foul with 7:30 left in the third quarter. He played only seven more minutes.
``I was concerned how we matched up, and it was a backcourt game tonight,'' Sixers coach Johnny Davis said.
The Sixers used an 11-0 spurt at the start of the fourth quarter to take their only lead at 86-83 on Rex Walters' 3-pointer with 8:59 left.
But Wesley Person and Johnson made 3-pointers in the next minute, starting an 18-7 surge, and Phoenix pulled away to hand the Sixers their fifth straight road loss.
After two free throws by Coleman got Philadelphia within one with 7:43 to play, Kidd passed to Person for a layup, and Johnson made a jumper, opening a 93-88 lead with 6:23 to go.
Johnson and Kidd teamed up for Phoenix's next seven points, and the Suns put it away at the foul line.
Kidd said he, like Johnson, had reservations to overcome _ the memory of his injury.
``I was real hesitant to go to the basket at first, because I was afraid to get hit or get in an incident where my collarbone could be in jeopardy again, but tonight I got some baskets, and it was a good demonstration of how my health is coming along,'' Kidd said.
Notes: Philadelphia won the first game meeting between the teams, 112-95 on Nov. 9, but couldn't complete its first sweep of the Suns since 1985-86. ... Johnson became the 35th active player to reach 12,000 points. ... The Suns had gone five games without getting 40 rebounds, and were 1-4 in those games. They outrebounded the Sixers, the NBA's third-best rebounding team, 42-37. ... The Sixers have led just once in their last two games.