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Iverson heats up in fourth to lead win

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Allen Iverson couldn't believe how poorly he
was playing Sunday.

In the end, though, he was good enough.

Iverson scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and
tied his career high with 15 assists, and the Philadelphia 76ers
overcame a horrendous shooting performance by the NBA's leading
scorer to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 96-89.

Iverson, who entered shooting 42.1 percent and averaging 30.5
points, shot 2-for-20 in the first three quarters and 5-of-28
overall along with 10-of-14 from the foul line.

He also had four steals and committed four turnovers.

"It's a game that I want to forget, but it's a game I'll
probably remember for the rest of my life because it was one of the
worst games I've ever played," Iverson said. "But I'm happy
because we got the win. That's what makes it so easy to take. I'm
as happy as I can be right now."

Iverson was surprised to learn he had tied his career high in
assists.

"I'm glad I did something right in that game," he said. "I'm
happy I had the assists that I had and obviously my teammates did a
great job of finishing plays. I knew that whole game -- 48 minutes --
I had to do something our there right. As far as the offensive
effort that I had, I did everything 99-percent wrong. And the
assists were just that 1 percent I had right."

The win was the third straight for the 76ers (35-34), who raised
their record above .500 for the first time since they were 4-3. And
it lifted them into a tie for seventh with Indiana in the Eastern
Conference -- three games ahead of ninth-place Orlando.

Andre Iguodala added 18 points and nine rebounds, Chris Webber
had 14 points and 14 rebounds, Marc Jackson also scored 14 points,
and Samuel Dalembert had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the 76ers.

The Lakers (32-37) committed a season-high 27 turnovers in
losing their eighth straight game -- their second-longest losing
streak since they moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in 1960.

The Lakers lost their last 10 games of the 1993-94 season. That
was the last time they failed to qualify for the playoffs,
something they seem destined to do this year for just the second
time since 1976. They are in 10th place in the Western Conference,
and trail Denver for the eighth and final playoff berth by 6½ games
with 13 remaining.

"We had 27 turnovers, gave up 25 points (off those turnovers).
That's the ballgame," Lakers coach Frank Hamblen said. "Sloppy
play, just poor decisions, poor passes, throwing passes at guys'
ankles."

Kobe Bryant scored 15 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and
also had 10 rebounds and five assists to lead the Lakers. Chris
Mihm had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Caron Butler added 13 points
and 10 rebounds.

"When you make that many turnovers and don't get back on
defense, you are going to give up a lot of easy buckets," Bryant
said. "We are not able to get an all-around game defensively. We
did a good job in our halfcourt set. Our transition defense could
have been much, much better."

Lamar Odom, the Lakers' second-leading scorer, sat out his
fourth game because of a slight tear and bruised rotator cuff in
his left shoulder. Odom told reporters about 90 minutes before
game-time that he planned on playing, but Lakers spokesman John
Black later said Odom wasn't cleared by the team's medical staff.

The Lakers' 24th turnover resulted in a pair of free throws by
Iverson, giving Philadelphia a 78-76 lead. Mihm's tip-in tied the
game, but fast-break baskets by Aaron McKie, Iguodala and Dalembert
put the 76ers on top 84-78 with 5:05 remaining.

Bryant scored five straight points before Iverson's three-point
play with four minutes left gave Philadelphia a four-point lead,
and Iverson added another basket with 3:15 remaining to make it
90-85.

The Lakers weren't closer than five points after that.

The Lakers scored 11 straight points for a 53-47 lead early in
the third quarter. Iverson kept misfiring, but the Lakers kept
turning the ball over, so the game stayed close. Jackson scored
four straight points and Webber added a basket to cap a 17-7 run
and put the 76ers on top 64-60.

It was 64-63 entering the fourth quarter. Iverson shot an air
ball as the third period ended, and waved his left hand in disgust.
He shot 0-for-8 in the quarter.

After starting 1-for-11, Iverson made a dunk as the second
quarter ended to give the 76ers a 43-40 halftime lead.

Game notes
The Lakers' previous season-high in turnovers was 24 at New
Orleans in a 106-98 victory Nov. 9. ... The Lakers lost their third
straight home game -- giving them their longest losing streak at
home since the 1993-94 season. ... The 76ers are 9-6 since
acquiring Webber from the Sacramento Kings last month. ... Brian
Grant made his second start of the season in Odom's place. He had
six points and seven rebounds in a season-high 38 minutes. ... A
technical foul was called on Bryant with 4:03 left in the third
quarter after he picked up two quick fouls, giving him four in the
game.