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76ers edge Wizards for seventh straight victory

12/1/2002

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michael Jordan made his first start of the
season but couldn't come up with one last clutch play.

Jordan had an offensive rebound, an assist and blocked a shot in
the final minute, but his pass to Bryon Russell with 5 seconds left
was stolen, depriving the Wizards of a chance at a game-winning
shot in a 95-94 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday night.

"I think he took one extra dribble,'' Wizards coach Doug
Collins said. "I think he probably wishes he would have pulled
up.''

Said Jordan: "It was one of those situations where you cannot
not get a shot off. ... I thought Russell was open underneath the
basket.''

Sixers Coach Larry Brown credited Keith Van Horn with making the
defensive stop.

"We all knew that the ball was going to Michael,'' Van Horn
said. "We as a team just did a good job of collapsing when he
drove with the ball.''

The victory was the Sixers' seventh in a row, while the Wizards
have lost six straight.

Allen Iverson scored 12 of his 35 in the fourth quarter, hitting
long jumpers despite tight defense from rookie Juan Dixon.

"I had my hand in his face. ... I don't even think he could see
the basket, but he was in a rhythm,'' Dixon said. "It's just
amazing he's hitting shots over me like that.''

Brown said he talked to Iverson at halftime to try to settle him
down.

"I think he wanted to show Dixon he's not there yet and he got
a little carried away,'' Brown said. "Allen was phenomenal in the
second half, though.''

Jerry Stackhouse kept the Wizards in the game, scoring 25 of his
38 points in the second half. Jordan scored 16 points on 8-of-20
shooting in a season-high 37 minutes.

Eric Snow's layup with 40 seconds left gave the Sixers a 95-90
lead. Stackhouse was then fouled by Greg Buckner and made one of
two foul shots, and Jordan came down with the offensive rebound and
passed to Stackhouse for a 3-pointer to make the score 95-94 with
29 seconds left.

Iverson then had his driving shot blocked by Jordan, setting up
the Wizards' final chance with 5.4 seconds left.

"We can live with (the loss) because we competed for 48
minutes,'' Stackhouse said. "We had a chance at the end of the
game. Nine times out of 10 you get an opportunity on that play.''

Jordan had lobbied for increased playing time as the Wizards
struggled through a five-game losing streak. He started fast,
hitting a 19-foot jumper in the first minute and scoring 12 in the
first half. But he was held to 2-of-7 shooting and only four points
in the second half.

"I felt good,'' Jordan said of his start. "I felt like I could
control what the team was doing at the time in terms of playing the
point and helping out on defense.''

Dixon, at times matched up against Iverson, scored a season-high
18 for Washington.

Jordan, who had been averaging 16 points and 28 minutes, played
19 minutes in the first half, more than any other Wizard.

Neither team opened up a double-digit lead throughout the game,
and the Sixers never led by more than seven.

The Wizards led 50-46 at halftime, but the Sixers went on an
18-8 run in the third quarter and led the rest of the way.

Game notes
The game was Washington's 50th consecutive sellout; the
streak began with Jordan's first game as a Wizard at the beginning
of the 2001-02 season. ... Jordan's last start was Feb. 24 against
Miami. ... Derrick Coleman scored a season-high 11 for
Philadelphia.