Philadelphia wins series 4-2 (Game 1 of 6)

Philadelphia wins series 4-2

Game 1: Sunday, April 20th
Game 2: Wednesday, April 23rd
Game 3: Saturday, April 26th
Game 4: Monday, April 28th
Game 5: Wednesday, April 30th
Game 6: Friday, May 2nd

Hornets 90

(47-35, 18-23 away)

76ers 98

(48-34, 25-16 home)

    Coverage: CSN

    8:00 PM ET, April 20, 2003

    Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 20 24 24 2290
    PHI 27 22 21 2898

    Top Performers

    NO: J. Mashburn 28 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast

    Phi: A. Iverson 55 Pts, 4 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl

    Iverson sets club playoff mark with 55 points

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Of all the prolific offensive performances in the opening games of this year's NBA playoffs, Allen Iverson's was the best.

    Allen Iverson

    "The basket looked like an ocean,'' Allen Iverson said after pouring in 55 on Sunday.

    Not only that, it was one of the greatest in NBA playoff history.

    Iverson scored 55 points Sunday night in a brilliant display of shooting, making 21 of 32 shots while eclipsing his previous playoff-high of 54 as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the New Orleans Hornets 98-90.

    "That was his best ever, by far,'' Philadelphia coach Larry Brown said.

    Iverson scored 20 in the fourth quarter to help his team hang onto the lead throughout the final 12 minutes of a closely contested, physical game.

    Iverson joined Michael Jordan, Rick Barry, Charles Barkley, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor as the only players to score 55 or more in a playoff game. Jordan holds the NBA record of 63.

    "When I'm out there on the basketball court in front of 20,000 people, and I'm making shots and they're into it and jumping up and cheering, that's what I get the goose bumps from,'' Iverson said. "Because I know when these people leave this arena, that might be something they'll cherish for the rest of their life.''

    The fans weren't the only ones cherishing it.

    Iverson's coach and teammates were in awe, as were the Hornets.

    "The only player I've ever seen play like that was Michael Jordan,'' Derrick Coleman said.

    "It's right up there with Mike's 63,'' Hornets coach Paul Silas said.

    "It was the single-best performance I've ever been a part of,'' Philadelphia's Keith Van Horn said.

    During the first seven games of the postseason Saturday and earlier Sunday, there was a 46-point performance by Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas and a 43-point outing by Orlando's Tracy McGrady.

    Iverson outdid them by a bunch, hitting nearly everything he tossed up with the exception of a stretch of five consecutive misses during the third quarter.

    "He must've been watching TV all day, watching all those young gunners putting up those numbers -- and he had the last game in prime time,'' the Sixers' Aaron McKie said.

    With Philadelphia clinging to a two-point lead, Iverson came off a pick from Van Horn and hit a 3 to make it 89-84. On Philadelphia's next possession, he dribble-faked Stacey Augmon off-balance, stepped back and hit another 3 to reach 51 points and give the Sixers a 92-84 lead with three minutes left.

    After the Hornets pulled to 94-90, Iverson used his lightning speed to drive around George Lynch for a layup that gave him his final points with 37.3 seconds left.

    Iverson reached 50 points for the third time in 46 career playoff games. It was his ninth game with at least 40.

    "I caught a rhythm. The basket looked like an ocean, and I was just throwing rocks in,'' Iverson said.

    Iverson reached 30 points just 3 minutes into the third quarter, but he missed his next five shots while being defended by Augmon before hitting a 3-pointer that gave the 76ers a 70-68 lead entering the fourth period.

    Iverson then made his first four shots of the final quarter.

    Eric Snow added 15 points and Aaron McKie 12 for Philadelphia.

    Jamal Mashburn led the Hornets with 28.

    Iverson had six assists in the first quarter, the last of which was the niftiest. Iverson tossed an around-the-back pass to Tyrone Hill at the foul line, and Hill gave it back and made a backdoor cut. Iverson found him instantly, threading a pass to Hill right under the basket for a dunk that gave the 76ers a 25-18 lead.

    Iverson took a brief rest early in the second quarter, and New Orleans had a 13-0 run to go ahead 33-29. The remainder of the quarter turned into a foul-shooting exhibition as the Hornets were whistled for 13 fouls and Philadelphia scored 14 points at the line to overcome 4-for-18 shooting.

    Snow drew charges on David Wesley and Baron Davis on consecutive possessions, forcing both to the bench with their third fouls with more than three minutes left before the half. Philadelphia led 49-44 at intermission behind Iverson's 25 points.

    "I didn't know what it would take for us to win, but I knew it would take a great effort -- just playing the game like it was my last,'' Iverson said. "That was the only thing I thought about. That's the only thing I think about before every game.''

    Game notes

    Iverson's overall career high is 58 on Jan. 15, 2002 against Houston. ... Iverson scored or assisted on Philadelphia's first 14 field goals. ... Van Horn shot for 1-for-8 in his first playoff game with the Sixers, missing his final six shots -- the crowd groaning increasingly louder on the last three. ... Wesley finished with five fouls and five points. ... Coleman had five fouls and four points.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 90 98
    FGM-FGA 28-65 (.431) 36-77 (.468)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 4-11 (.364)
    FTM-FTA 30-40 (.750) 22-25 (.880)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-37 8-32
    Assists 12 24
    Turnovers 21 15
    Steals 7 11
    Blocks 7 2
    Fast Break Points 5 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (2/0) 31 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Jamal Mashburn Mashburn
    Points: 28
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Allen Iverson Iverson
    Points: 55
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0