PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Allen Iverson had every reason to feel good
after his performance kept Philadelphia close to the division lead.
Surely the mood changed when the Sixers All-Star found out he
Iverson outperformed Kobe Bryant, scoring 36 points and leading
a decisive third-quarter run in the 76ers' 108-91 win over the Los
Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
Iverson helped pull the Sixers (31-33) to four games of Boston
for first place in the Atlantic Division.
"It made me feel good," Iverson said. "Any win makes me feel
Iverson, though, chipped a bone in his left thumb sometime in
the second half and will be fitted for a cast. He is day-to-day.
The Sixers said Iverson will be re-evaluated Friday when they play
again at Cleveland.
Iverson left the arena before the injury was announced.
The Sixers certainly need the league's leading scorer if they're
going to make any kind of run at the Celtics.
"We would like to have that (winning) streak right now," said
Iverson, before he knew the X-ray results.
Bryant -- who came in trailing Iverson by nearly two points in
the league scoring race -- led the Lakers with 20 points, but had
little help. The Lakers (32-31) fell out of the eighth and final
spot in the Western Conference.
Bryant made five of nine shots in the first quarter, but went
1-for-6 the rest of the game.
"We've got to get more people involved," Bryant said. "They
were doubling me and the shots weren't falling."
Iguodala had plenty to do with that. The Sixers rookie kept a
hand in Bryant's face most of the game and aggressively contested
his shots. Iguodala said he watched plenty of tape to prepare for
one of his toughest assignments.
"I knew if I kept my hands up and kept nagging him a little bit
that I could make him take a tougher shot," Iguodala said.
Bryant scored 16 points in the first quarter and Iverson had 14
as the two seemed poised for a one-on-one showdown between
All-Stars. But Bryant slowed down, thanks largely to the sticky
defense by Iguodala, while Iverson kept driving and crashing.
Iverson scored 14 points during a 26-9 run in the third quarter
by doing what he does best -- drive the lane, look for the layup and
get to the line. When he couldn't do that, Iverson would dribble
around the perimeter until he found an open look.
He took six of Philadelphia's 16 shots in the third (making
three) and went 7-for-7 from the line. Overall, Iverson went
14-for-15 from the line and 10-for-22 from the floor.
On one fallaway layup from the right side, Iverson was fouled by
Chucky Atkins. Atkins bitterly complained and was hit with two
quick technicals and ejected from the game.
Korver sank the two free throws for a 66-50 lead. Rodney Rogers
hit a 3-pointer near the end of the third, giving Philadelphia a
Chris Webber again was a non-factor for the Sixers. He scored
Philly's first two baskets of the game, sat out 5 minutes of the
second quarter and missed his last six shots for five points.
Webber remained baffled as to why he has looked little like the
five-time All-Star he was in Sacramento. Of course, watching
Iverson take a bulk of the shots and not having coach Jim O'Brien
call plays for Webber might have something do with his struggles.
"I don't want to put my finger on it," Webber said. "It's not
because it's late in the season. I didn't become this player in one
Bryant, who went to nearby Lower Merion High School, needed
about 30 tickets. Among those invited were players on this year's
Merion team and his former coach, Gregg Downer. Lower Merion plays
in the Class AAAA state semifinals Wednesday night. Bryant said he
loved playing in Philadelphia, even though he's always booed. "If
I played here, they'd love it with the Philly attitude I have," he
said. "But I enjoy coming here because of that." ... The Sixers
are 17-10 when Iverson scores 30 or more points.