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76ers capture Game 3 with dominant inside play

5/12/2003

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Every time there was a missed shot, the
Philadelphia 76ers showed just how desperate they were.

Dominating the rebounding matchup and outscoring Detroit 38-16
on points in the paint, the 76ers got back into their second-round
series by defeating Detroit 93-83 Saturday night to cut the
Pistons' lead in the series to 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday night.

Led by big men Kenny Thomas, Derrick Coleman and Tyrone Hill,
the 76ers outrebounded the Pistons 48-30 and scored 27
second-chance points in a one-sided game that offered little
suspense in the second half.

"We played awful. Horribly,'' Detroit's Tayshaun Prince said.
"They killed us on the boards -- especially offensive rebounds.''

Thomas had a double-double before halftime and finished with 10
points and 14 rebounds -- five on the offensive end -- before pulling
a leg muscle late in the third quarter. He said his injury was not
serious.

Hill had nine points and six rebounds in just 22 minutes, but
that was still more than Detroit's Ben Wallace managed to
contribute in 36 minutes. The NBA's leading rebounder was held to
six points and six rebounds.

"His numbers may not look as good as normal, but I don't
question his heart or effort,'' Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said.
"He'll bounce back tomorrow, and we'll bounce back tomorrow.''

Allen Iverson had 25 points and 11 assists, Keith Van Horn had
his best game of the series with 17 points, and Coleman added 15
points and eight rebounds. The 76ers grabbed one-third of their
rebounds on the offensive end.

All five Philadelphia starters reached double figures as the
Sixers avoided falling behind 3-0 -- a deficit no NBA team has ever
overcome.

"This was enormous,'' Sixers coach Larry Brown said.

"It does something for our psyche, the mental aspect,'' Iverson
said. "We come into our own crib and are able to win decisively,
it gives us a lot of motivation going into the next game.''

The Pistons might have point guard Chauncey Billups available
for Game 4. A sprained ankle kept him sidelined for the second
straight game, and Billups said afterward he's 50-50 for Sunday.

Richard Hamilton led Detroit with 24 points, Tayshaun Prince had
17 and Chucky Atkins had 13 filling in for Billups. No one else on
the team scored more than seven.

Thomas strained his right quadriceps muscle while going for a
rebound against Wallace and left for good with 3:50 left in the
third quarter.

By then, the Sixers were ahead 64-44, and they never needed
Thomas back. Van Horn made a 3-pointer 14 seconds later to give
Philadelphia its largest lead -- 22.

Jon Barry hit a 3-pointer with 3:12 left to pull the Pistons to
86-75, but Iverson scored Philadelphia's next five points to keep
it from getting any closer.

The 76ers asserted themselves on the boards early. When Hill
grabbed the third offensive rebound of a single possession and
turned it into a three-point play for a 23-18 lead, it gave
Philadelphia a 17-4 edge in rebounding.

"The rebounds were a joke. The second-chance points in the
first half was embarrassing,'' Barry said.

The Pistons gave Atkins a rest at the start of the second
quarter, and Iverson took advantage of his matchup against
slow-footed Barry to spark an 8-3 run that gave the Sixers a 31-22
lead.

Thomas had a double-double -- 10 points and 10 rebounds -- after
making a 12-footer to cap a 7-0 run that gave Philadelphia a 44-30
lead. Detroit scored seven of the next eight points, but Snow ended
the half with a jumper for a 48-37 lead after Price committed a
traveling violation while isolated one-on-one against Hill.

Van Horn's 3-pointer capped a 7-0 run to start the second half,
putting Philadelphia ahead by 18. The Sixers led by at least 16 for
the rest of the third quarter.

Game notes
Cliff Robinson was only 1-for-6, and Barry was 2-for-6. ...
Philadelphia's Aaron McKie also struggled, going 0-for-3 from the
field. ... Detroit's Danny Manning had his first playing time of
the series, playing the final 4½ minutes and picking up three fouls
with no points. ... Van Horn became a father for the fourth time
Saturday when his wife gave birth to their third daughter, Haley.