By Sam Bush
Is it possible that Sixers newbie point guard Ish Smith means this much to the low-flying team?
Evidently, because Smith, who was just traded from New Orleans to Philly, was a big factor against one of his former teams.
Smith scored 14 points in the first game of his second incarnation with the 76ers, who beat the Phoenix Suns 111-104 Saturday night for just their second win of the season.
“I didn’t come from a situation where we were winning a lot in New Orleans, either,” Smith said. “For me a win is a win and we have to keep coming closer together, through wins, through losses. If we do that, we will put us in a good position to win games.”
Smith, who played 25 games for Philly last season and averaged 12 points and six assists, got the start and was 6 for 15 from the floor. He was acquired in a trade with the Pelicans on Christmas Eve.
Isaiah Canaan scored 22 points and reserve Nik Stauskas had 17 for the 76ers, who went 12 for 27 from 3-point range. Carl Landry added 16 points, and Nerlens Noel added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Sixers (2-30) snapped a 12-game losing streak with its first win since Dec. 1. The Sixers also stopped a 23-game road slide dating to last season.
Brandon Knight led Phoenix with 21 points. Rookie Devin Booker scored a career-high 19 points, and Jon Leuer had 14 points and nine rebounds. The Suns have lost four in a row and six of seven.
The Sixers built a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Suns got it down to a six-point deficit twice in the last two minutes, but Philly was able to hang on.
Smith hit a 20-foot jumper for a 99-88 lead. He got a steal and fed Stauskas for a dunk, and knocked down an 18-footer to help keep the Sixers in front.
“Everybody can see how dynamic a player Ish is,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “Giving a player of that caliber the ball at the end of the game was great for us.”
The Sixers got a lucky basket early in the game when Canaan attempted a lob to Noel that he couldn’t catch in mid-air. The ball went off Noel’s hands and the rim and bounced straight up, dropping into the net for two points.
C Jahlil Okafor, the Sixers’ leading scorer this season, sat out with right knee soreness, replaced in the starting lineup by Jerami Grant. … The Sixers ended a streak of five straight losses to the Suns.