Neither team had much of a cushion in the final quarter, leading
to a thrilling final few minutes and giving the sparse home crowd
something to root for other than the Philadelphia Eagles'
appearance in the Super Bowl a few hours later.
"It's just good to see people support them the way they did,"
Iverson said. "I expected that, knowing that the game was going to
be today. It's just good to see they have the support like that."
With tipoff only a few hours before the start of the Super Bowl,
there were thousands of empty seats, plenty of fans in Eagles
jerseys and the "E-A-G-L-E-S!" chant was out in full force in the
second half. Each side of the arena took turns trying to outshout
the other with the earsplitting rally yell.
Finally, someone shouted, "What about the Sixers?"
Few cared, though one front-row fan held a sign that read "I
chose A.I. over T.O."
Unlike Terrell Owens, there was no "will he or won't he play"
drama with Iverson, who needed X-rays Friday on his sprained left
shoulder. He was in the starting lineup, banging and crashing like
he always does. When he made a steal late in the fourth, it
generated the first sustained chant for the Sixers.
"This isn't the first time we've experienced that," guard
Aaron McKie said of the pro-Eagles crowd.
It wasn't the first time the Sixers experienced Iverson saving
the game, either.
Iverson put the Sixers ahead 104-101 on a 3-pointer with 1:44
left only to have the Clippers' Bobby Simmons answer with a
Iverson was fouled on the next possession by Elton Brand and
calmly made the go-ahead free throws, turning the attention of a
rabid Eagles crowd back to the Sixers.
The Clippers were then called for a shot-clock violation, but
got another chance to tie when Corliss Williamson missed for
Rick Brunson went for the win, but his 3-point attempt was off
the mark. Iverson grabbed the ball, hurled it into the air and it
landed in the crowd.
Brunson, who had 11 assists off the bench, didn't question his
decision to shoot for the win instead of the tie because he had an
"I had to make a decision, go inside or take the shot.
Unfortunately, it didn't go down," he said. "I'm not scared of
taking the shot. I'll be the goat."
The Sixers completed a 3-1 homestand and moved within one game
of .500 overall (23-24).
"It's starting to feel like a home-court advantage to us,"
Sixers coach Jim O'Brien said.
Simmons led the Clippers with 27 points, while Brand had 21 and
Chris Kaman 18.
There were 22 lead changes and 23 ties. The Sixers had the
biggest lead -- nine points.
Philly fans might be surprised when they come out of their
Eagles haze to find a Sixers team still in the thick of the playoff
race thanks to a weak Atlantic Division.
Corey Maggette, Los Angeles' leading scorer, missed his
fifth consecutive game with a collarbone injury. Kerry Kittles was
also out with a strained right groin. ... Brunson stopped by
Temple's practice before the game to visit his college coach, John
Chaney. "He had nothing to say to me," Brunson said, smiling.
"He was cussing his kids out." ... O'Brien returned to the bench
after missing Friday's game with the flu. ... The crowd of 15,056
was not the lowest of the season, though it was below
Philadelphia's average of 16,987.