Iverson's 22 points on 9-of-28 shooting Monday night were his
lowest total in the series. But five other Sixers scored in double
figures in a 96-87 victory that gave Philadelphia a 3-1 series
lead, with Game 5 in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
"As bad as I was struggling out there, it makes me feel good to
win game like this,'' Iverson said. "That I can play so badly and
my teammates play so well, it gives me confidence that I know when
I'm struggling we've still got a shot to win.''
The balanced scoring and rebounding effort by the Sixers spoiled
a 34-point performance by Baron Davis, who overcame an ailing left
knee for a second straight game.
Davis, visibly disgusted after the game, didn't single out
anyone, but seemed most frustrated with the Hornets inside players
losing the rebounding advantage they established in a Game 3
"We got outhustled. We got outmuscled. We didn't come to
play,'' he said.
Philadelphia redeemed itself on the boards. Although Kenny
Thomas' eight rebounds were a team high, the Sixers outrebounded
the Hornets as a team 43-38, two nights after being embarrassed
51-33. The Sixers also improved their offensive rebounding total
from six to 17.
"We didn't do much different than we did in Game 3, but we
rebounded better,'' 76ers coach Larry Brown said. "We didn't match
their intensity in Game 3, but tonight we matched their effort. We
made so many hustle plays late in the game. There were so many guys
that I think as a coach you can say they made bigtime plays to help
McKie's final bucket, a 3-pointer with 2:45 left, sealed the
game, giving Philadelphia a 94-82 lead. Iverson found McKie wide
open in the corner for the basket and started yelling, "Yeah,
yeah,'' before the ball had even left McKie's hands.
Although the Hornets were within striking distance well into the
fourth quarter, Philadelphia always found a way to reverse the
momentum. It never lost the lead after Iverson gave the Sixers a
19-18 lead with a one-handed floater off the glass.
But the Sixers came back with a 6-0 run on a jumper by Snow, a
dunk by Coleman and a long jump shot by Iverson as he fell
"What you want to do during that time is make sure to get a
good shot, which gives you a chance to rebound and a chance to get
back on defense so they don't get an easy opportunity,'' Snow said.
"That's playoff basketball. It becomes a possession game.''
Wesley finished with 12 points for New Orleans, while P. J.
Brown had 11 points and nine rebounds. Center Jamaal Magloire, who
had 18 points and nine assists on Saturday, was limited to seven
points and eight rebounds.
Philadelphia scored six quick points to start the game, but by
midway through the quarter the Sixers were 2-for-15 from the field
as the Hornets ran to a 13-6 lead. Iverson missed his first five
shots while Davis hit his first three.
When the 76ers settled down, however, they couldn't miss.
Iverson hit his next two shots and the Sixers their next seven as
part of a 13-2 run that put Philadelphia back ahead 23-18.
The Sixers opened a 51-37 lead in the second period, thanks in
part to the Hornets being over the limit in team fouls with 4:24 to
go in the half. McKie hit a jumper, a 3-pointer and a free throw in
succession to close out a 10-0 run.
The lead was trimmed to 52-45 at halftime only because Davis
closed the period with a pair of free throws and a two 3s, giving
him 24 points for the half.
New Orleans coach Paul Silas said the Hornets would have been
blown out without Davis, who has played the last two games with a
bone bruise in his left knee that affects his lateral movement and
"We're going to battle. Laying down is not in our vocabulary,''
Silas said. "I told the guys if you don't think we can win, then
stay home. I expect us to play and play well at Philadelphia.''
Silas said he expects All-Star Jamal Mashburn to miss the
rest of the series with a broken finger. ... Magloire, a Canadian
who still has family in the Toronto area, said Monday he is
providing aid to Toronto and Scarborough Hospital as they deal with
the SARS virus. ... After selling out Game 3 Saturday night, the
Hornets fell short of a sellout for Game 4. Paid attendance was
16,243. A sellout at New Orleans Arena is 17,200.