Davis, wearing a thick blue sleeve over his strained and bruised
left knee, scored 28 points on everything from 3-pointers to
slicing drives to floaters, leading the Hornets to a 99-85 victory
over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
"There's still some things I can't do, but I was making some
quick moves,'' Davis said. "If I can get out and play and be
active like I was tonight then I'm happy.''
The victory pulled the Hornets to 2-1 in the series, with Game 4
coming up Monday night.
Jamaal Magloire and P.J. Brown followed through on their promise
to be more of a force inside. Magloire had 18 points and nine
rebounds, while Brown had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Jerome Moiso,
seeing his first career postseason action, scored 10 points -- all
in the fourth quarter as the Hornets pulled away.
"This is a series now,'' Philadelphia coach Larry Brown said.
"The crowd was phenomenal, their effort was great. (Hornets coach
Paul Silas) had them ready to play. I didn't have our guys ready to
play. We didn't play well as a team.''
Iverson said the outcome had more to do with effort than
"You can talk about the Xs and Os all you want. Tonight they
just wanted it more than us,'' Iverson said. "They beat us to
loose balls and got 21 offensive rebounds and that's unheard of."
Mashburn, the Hornets' leading scorer and lone All-Star this
season, dislocated and chipped a bone in his right middle finger
during Wednesday's 90-85 loss in Philadelphia. He has not said when
he thinks he can return.
"Those guys, down 2-0, they've got an All-Star player sitting
there in street clothes. The love of the game just came out for
those guys,'' Iverson said. "They just showed a lot of heart and a
lot of character by being able to just fight and win the game.''
Davis reaggravated a left knee injury when he landed awkwardly
after a layup in Game 1 in Philadelphia, then sat out Game 2.
Davis refrained from soaring layups or dunk attempts in the
game, but he seemed nimble as ever on the dribble drive, routinely
creating scoring opportunities for both himself and teammates.
"My mode was to attack and get my teammates into attack mode,''
Davis said. "Early on I was looking to get everybody touches and
open shots and told everybody, 'When you get the ball, shoot it. We
need everybody to score tonight.' And everybody did a good job of
taking big shots and knocking down big shots.''
Silas let Davis play 40 minutes, about 10 more than he had
"I'm sure he feels it a little bit ... but he wanted to play
because this was a do-or-die game for us and certainly he had to
lead the charge,'' Silas said.
New Orleans also was far more assertive on the boards, where the
Hornets were beaten by Philadelphia in Game 2. Brown finished with
seven offensive rebounds, compared to six for the Sixers.
New Orleans ended up with 12 offensive rebounds in the first
half alone, allowing them to take a 47-46 lead into halftime
despite shooting only 36 percent.
"I hadn't had a very good series and I just took the tape home
and focused on what I did well and badly and tried to learn from
it,'' Brown said. "I just felt we knew we had to play our best
game of the year.''
Aaron McKie's first points of the game put Philadelphia up
63-62, but that would be the Sixers' last lead as Kenny Anderson
responded with a double-pump shot as he got shut off and fouled on
a baseline drive.
Davis then hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter,
the second giving New Orleans an 82-71 lead and prompting Davis,
bad knee and all, to leap with his hands in the air as the crowd
New Orleans is known as a last-minute town, and tickets
were available for the first ever NBA playoff game here right up to
tipoff. The game ultimately was announced as a standing-room-only
sellout of 17,320. ... New Orleans fans had mostly cheered Iverson
during the Sixers' regular season visit, prompting coach Larry
Brown to say they seemed to open their hearts to him. They weren't
as gracious with Philadelphia returning as a playoff foe. Iverson
was roundly booed when he came out for warmups and when he checked
into the game. The crowd also erupted when Iverson was called for a
technical after arguing a non call when he missed a reverse layup.