Ish Smith had 21 points and 11 assists, and Richaun Holmes scored 17 points to lead the 76ers to 109-99 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night in Philadelphia.
The Sixers, still the worst team in the NBA at 4-33, have won three of six games and have a new confidence since they named Jerry Colangelo chairman of basketball operations last month.
Colangelo’s first big move was acquiring Smith from New Orleans in a Dec. 24 trade that cost them nothing but second-round draft picks. Smith averaged 13.4 points and 7.6 assists since the deal and has made his teammates better.
Smith keyed a fourth-quarter run that helped the Sixers push the lead to double digits, even with leading scorer Jahlil Okafor on the bench.
Smith had a pair of assists early in the quarter that gave the home crowd a reason to cheer a win for only the second time this season.
Shabazz Muhammad led the Timberwolves with 20 points.
Trying to keep a recent hot streak alive, Smith’s 14-footer late in the fourth gave the Sixers a 7-point cushion. Jerami Grant blocked Muhammad’s layup and Nerlens Noel, who scored 10 points, capitalized on the other end with a dunk. Carl Landry added another dunk off an assist from Smith for a 103-92 lead.
Smith, who was not re-signed by the Sixers in the summer, hit back-to-back 19-footers and the Sixers were suddenly rolling to another win.
Gorgui Dieng scored 14 points for Minnesota.
Thunder 116, Kings 104 — DeMarcus Cousins had 33 points and a season-high 19 rebounds as visiting Sacramento took advantage of Kevin Durant being out of the lineup with a sprained right big toe.
Rajon Rondo had 13 points, 19 assists, and 9 rebounds, Marco Belinelli scored 21 points, and Rudy Gay added 16 for Sacramento.
Russell Westbrook had 17 points, 15 assists, and 8 rebounds for Oklahoma City, but he made just 2 of 15 shots in the second half.
Serge Ibaka scored a season-high 25 points, Anthony Morrow had a season-high 20 points, and Steven Adams added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder.
Cousins scored eight points during a 17-0 run late in the first half after falling behind, 31-14.
Cavaliers 122, Raptors 100 — Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 25 points, and J.R. Smith had 24 on eight 3-pointers for host Cleveland.
Irving, playing his sixth game since returning from a broken left kneecap, was 10 of 16 from the field. The three-time All-Star, injured in Game 1 of last season’s NBA Finals, added eight assists and six rebounds.
LeBron James, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter, had 20 points and seven assists in 31 minutes as all five Cleveland starters finished in double figures. Tristan Thompson added 14 points with 11 rebounds, and Kevin Love scored 14 as Cleveland improved to 15-1 at home.
The Cavaliers used a 21-9 run late in the third quarter to finally open some distance on the Raptors, who were led by Kyle Lowry’s 23 points.
DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points for Toronto, which played without forward DeMarre Carroll (sore right knee). Patrick Patterson scored 15 points and Bismack Biyombo added 10.
Pistons 115, Magic 89 — Andre Drummond had 17 points and 12 rebounds as host Detroit rolled to its most lopsided victory of the season.
Detroit led 57-47 at halftime, and although Orlando scored the first 7 points of the third quarter, a 16-4 run later in the period gave the Pistons a comfortable advantage again. Detroit then poured it on at the start of the fourth.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 21 points for the Pistons, who play in Boston on Wednesday. Brandon Jennings added 17, and Reggie Jackson scored 14 points with seven assists.
Victor Oladipo, starting in place of injured guard Elfrid Payton, led Orlando with 18 points.
Heat 103, Pacers 100 — Chris Bosh scored 31 points, and Dwyane Wade had 27, including a layup that beat the buzzer and forced overtime, as host Miami erased an 18-point third-quarter deficit to beat Indiana.
Goran Dragic added 13 for Miami, which matched a season best with its third straight win.
Paul George scored 32 points on 12-for-29 shooting for Indiana, but his 3-pointer from the right corner bounced off the rim on the game’s final play.
Monta Ellis had 17 points, Ian Mahinmi finished with 10 and Rodney Stuckey scored 10 for the Pacers.
Spurs 123, Bucks 98 — Kawhi Leonard scored 10 of his 24 points in the decisive third quarter as visiting San Antonio won its fifth straight.
The Spurs improved to 30-6 and joined defending champion Golden State as the only teams to reach 30 wins already this season.
Rookie swingman Jonathon Simmons scored a career-high 18 for the Spurs, who set a season high for points two days after posting 121 against Houston. LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Tim Duncan finished with 14 points and 10 boards for the Spurs, one game after going scoreless for the first time in his 19-year career.
Warriors 111, Hornets 101 — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson scored 30 points apiece for host Golden State, and Marreese Speights had a season-high 15 off the bench.
The night belonged to Golden State’s Draymond Green, who had 13 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists to join Tom Gola in 1959-60 as the only Warriors players to have triple-doubles in three consecutive games.
Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb each scored 22 points for the Hornets.
Rockets 93, Jazz 91 — James Harden scored 30 points and visiting Houston rallied in the second half, ending a season-high four-game losing streak. Dwight Howard had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Houston.
Rodney Hood led the Jazz with 23 points and matched a career high with five 3-pointers.
Grizzlies 91, Trail Blazers 78 — Zach Randolph had 26 points and 18 rebounds off the bench against his former team, and Memphis spoiled Damian Lillard’s return to the Portland lineup.
Lillard, who missed seven games because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, was averaging 24.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists before his absence.
Lillard, a two-time All-Star, had not missed a game in his NBA career (275 games) before his injury.