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McKie jumpers lift Philly down the stretch

1/30/2004

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Aaron McKie was just trying to execute the
play. He wasn't expecting a chance to win the game.

McKie, who hit a jumper to tie the game, knocked down another
one with 7.1 seconds remaining to give the Philadelphia 76ers an
85-82 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

It was a big shot in a big game for a team that desperately
needed a lift.

"We were just saying, 'Let's go win this," McKie said.
"That's basketball. That's fun. You go out there and just grind it
out, scratch and claw and just play."

Allen Iverson returned to the Sixers' lineup after missing two
games with a sprained finger, and had 31 points and eight assists.
Kenny Thomas added 13 points and 14 rebounds for Philadelphia,
which snapped a four-game losing streak. Samuel Dalembert and Glenn
Robinson both finished with 11 points.

Jamal Mashburn, playing only his second game after missing the
first 44 of the season following knee surgery, scored 20 points as
the Hornets had their three-game winning streak snapped. Baron
Davis added 19, Jamaal Magloire had 13 and P.J. Brown 12.

New Orleans held a six-point lead with 5:13 remaining but turned
the ball over on its next four possessions. McKie's 19-foot jumper
from the corner tied the game at 81.

The teams traded misses before Davis drove the lane and was
fouled by Dalembert. Davis made the first free throw and missed the
second, and Mashburn missed a short jumper after Brown grabbed the
offensive rebound.

Thomas corralled Mashburn's miss and passed to Robinson, who
found McKie open in the corner for an almost-identical 18-footer
that gave the Sixers the lead with 7.1 seconds remaining.

"I didn't go out there to be the hero," McKie said. "I was
trying to clear the lane for the big guys coming down the floor.
Glenn got double-teamed and I slid over in the corner and he found
me. I just made the shot."

Mashburn attempted a fallaway jump shot on the Hornets' final
possession, but the ball rimmed out and Dalembert grabbed the
rebound with one second left. He was fouled and made both free
throws for the final margin.

It was a broken play that was the result of good defense by
Dalembert on Davis, who could not get open.

"They key to the game was on the last play," Iverson said.
"(Sixers coach) Randy (Ayers) said he was going to take him out
and Sammy told him, 'I can guard Baron for that amount of time.' I
just looked at Randy and said, 'He said he can do it. Give him a
shot."

After hitting his third 3 with 6:56 left in the first quarter,
Davis did not score again until he made a jumper seven minutes into
the third.

The Hornets started the fourth quarter with a 10-3 run that gave
them a three-point lead with 9:06 remaining. They extended the lead
to six on a layup by Magloire and a jump shot by Brown around a
made free throw by Iverson before the Sixers rallied to tie the
game.

"We knew they were a drive-and-kick team, and I really
emphasized that" Hornets coach Tim Floyd said. "We got that under
control in the second half. But those two penetrations, one by
Iverson, one by (Robinson) to set up McKie's looks were big baskets
for them."

New Orleans started 5-for-8 from 3-point range but missed its
next nine attempts.

Iverson had 23 first-half points, the last two coming on a
reverse layup that put the Sixers ahead 55-44 at halftime.

"I think you saw the importance of having Allen back in the
lineup and playing at a high level," Ayers said. "He just took
everybody with him tonight."

Game notes
The Sixers signed F Zendon Hamilton through the remainder
of the season. Hamilton originally signed with the team on Dec. 10
before being released and signed to a pair of 10-day contracts. He
is averaging 2.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 13 games and did not
play Friday. ... The Hornets were outrebounded for the 13th time in
their last 16 games. ... The Sixers set a season-high with 33
points in the first quarter, then matched a season-low with only 33
in the second half.