Philadelphia wins series 4-2 (Game 2 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 85

(47-35, 18-23 away)

76ers 90

(48-34, 25-16 home)

    Coverage: CSN

    7:00 PM ET, April 23, 2003

    Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 22 16 28 1985
    PHI 27 23 26 1490

    Top Performers

    NO: D. Wesley 24 Pts, 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Phi: K. Thomas 17 Pts, 16 Reb, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Thomas, 76ers' frontcourt dominate Hornets

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Allen Iverson didn't have to do all the scoring this time.

    Kenny Thomas

    Allen Iverson

    Coming off a brilliant 55-point performance in the series opener, Iverson had 29 and Kenny Thomas had 17 points and 16 rebounds, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 90-85 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

    The 76ers lead 2-0 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal. Game 3 is Saturday in New Orleans.

    "The guys knew what they had to do to get over the hump,'' Iverson said. "It makes it that much easier on me, takes more pressure off me and lets me concentrate on the defensive end.''

    Derrick Coleman had 12 points and six assists and Keith Van Horn added 11 points for the Sixers. Thomas, Van Horn and Coleman -- Philadelphia's starting frontcourt -- scored 11 points combined in Game 1. They got 40 Wednesday night.

    "We knew we had to contribute more,'' Van Horn said. "We knew they would focus more on Allen, and we had to contribute.''

    David Wesley had 24 points and Robert Pack 15 for New Orleans. Jamal Mashburn scored 14, but he had only one point after chipping a bone in his right middle finger and dislocating it. He sat out the final 6:49.

    The Hornets were without Baron Davis, their second-leading scorer, who was out with a left knee injury. He and Mashburn are day-to-day.

    Despite missing its two best players, New Orleans trailed only 79-73 after Robert Traylor hit a jumper with 7:40 left.

    But Iverson answered with a 15-footer and a long jumper that made it 83-73 with 4:25 remaining. Coleman set up Iverson' second jumper, diving to gather a loose ball and drawing a standing ovation from a Philadelphia crowd that once vilified him during his first tour with the Sixers, from 1995-98.

    "They were outhustling us,'' Wesley said. "It seemed we never were coming up with the big play.''

    After a pair of free throws by Coleman made it 86-76, Iverson hit another long jumper with 2:29 left. The Hornets didn't get closer than seven until making the last basket.

    "They came out very aggressive, and did a good job on us defensively,'' Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "Once Mash went out, that was it.''

    Iverson made 21 of 32 shots in an incredible display Sunday, hitting jumpers from all over the floor. He missed 16 of 27 shots Wednesday night as the Hornets used several different defenders on him.

    "We can't expect Allen to make 21 of 32 every night,'' Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "We don't win tonight without our inside guys.''

    Iverson also missed six of his 12 free throws, including five straight in the second quarter.

    Pack, who didn't play in the series opener, had the most success against Iverson in the second quarter and part of the third. But Pack got his fifth foul early in the third quarter and didn't return until midway through the fourth.

    Thomas acknowledged being nervous before the opener, and he had just four points and two rebounds in his first career playoff game. He was more relaxed in Game 2 and came through with a dominant performance. His seven offensive rebounds were one more than the Hornets had.

    "Allen was hot last game, and we had to keep going to him,'' Thomas said. "Tonight was different. He got everybody else involved, we got the ball inside and got some easy baskets.''

    With time winding down in the third period, Iverson dribbled around Stacey Augmon, banged into Traylor, stepped back and hit a 3-pointer to give the Sixers a 76-66 lead entering the fourth quarter.

    Wesley, who had five points in Game 1, scored the first seven for the Hornets and 10 of the first 14.

    The Sixers outscored New Orleans 16-4 to start the second quarter, taking a 43-26 lead. They went on a 10-2 run with Iverson on the bench, getting two layups from Monty Williams during that stretch. Three free throws by Mashburn and a layup by George Lynch cut it to 50-38 at halftime.

    "We knew their other guys were capable of scoring,'' Lynch said. "We've got to execute better.''

    Game notes

    This is the first time the Sixers have led a series 2-0 since 1991, when they swept Milwaukee in a best-of-five series. ... NBA commissioner David Stern attended the game. Former Sixers president Pat Croce also was in the crowd. ... Lynch started in place of Davis. The Hornets were 20-12 in games Lynch started during the regular season. ... The 76ers are 16-10 in home playoff games over the last five years.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 85 90
    FGM-FGA 33-70 (.471) 33-74 (.446)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 2-6 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 15-19 (.789) 22-30 (.733)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-31 14-40
    Assists 20 17
    Turnovers 16 13
    Steals 6 10
    Blocks 2 3
    Fast Break Points 2 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (1/0) 23 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    David Wesley Wesley
    Points: 24
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Kenny Thomas Thomas
    Points: 17
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1