Sixers blow 25-point lead but hand Cats 6th straight loss

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Philadelphia 76ers would rather not rely
so heavily on Allen Iverson.

They certainly can't complain about the results, though.

Iverson scored 48 points and the 76ers gained ground in the race
for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a 106-103
win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Iverson had 30 in the first half to help the Sixers (37-37) take
a 25-point lead, which was sliced all the way to one late in the
fourth quarter. It was the second straight game the Sixers let a
huge lead slip away, blowing a 26-point lead against Boston before
holding on for a four-point win.

Certainly, the eighth spot is Philly's to lose over the final
eight games. The Sixers have won six of 10 and are 11-8 since March
1 to build a game and a half lead over New Jersey and a 2-game
cushion on Orlando.

Chris Webber missed his third straight game with a sprained left

"When Chris is not on the court, it puts way too much on
Allen's shoulders," said Sixers coach Jim O'Brien.

Kyle Korver finished with 11 points and Andre Iguodala had 11
rebounds for the Sixers.

Cleveland's 98-77 loss to Indiana on Wednesday night pulled the
Sixers to one game of the Cavaliers for the seventh spot. The Cavs
play at Philadelphia on Friday and are 0-2 this year against the

The Sixers are 3 games behind first-place Boston in the
Atlantic Division.

"The next game, that's the one we have to have," Iverson said.
"If we approach everything that way, than everything will take
care of itself.

The feisty Bobcats were a little too late in turning the game
around and lost their sixth straight.

Cory Alexander sank two free throws that made it 104-103 with 33
seconds left, but Gerald Wallace mishandled the ball and it bounced
out of bounds on Charlotte's last possession.

"We would like to just completely put a team away," said
Korver. "But there's something to be said about us winning both
games. They do come back on us, we feel the pressure a little bit,
but still we win."

Korver sank a couple of free throws for Philadelphia and
clinched a win that probably shouldn't have been so close.

"It seems like every game we just can't finish," said Primoz
Brezec, who led the Bobcats with 23 points.

The Bobcats had their chances for an improbable victory in the
final minutes.

Emeka Okafor's layup and turnaround jumper cut Philadelphia's
lead to 102-99. Iguodala hit two free throws for a five-point lead,
but Primoz Brezec stepped out for a 17-foot baseline jumper that
made it 104-101.

Iverson's attempt for 50 points on a driving layup hit off the
front of the rim and Samuel Dalembert's ill-advised putback in
traffic was an airball.

With a chance to go-ahead, Wallace started to drive and the ball
seemed to bounce off his sneaker.

"Wallace had a layup, but he just lost the ball," said Bobcats
coach Bernie Bickerstaff.

Alexander had 17 points and Keith Bogans 16 for the Bobcats, who
were coming off a 104-102 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on
Tuesday night.

Iverson came as close as he could in the first half to matching
his league-leading scoring average of 30.4 points. Iverson was
sensational, making 10 of 15 baskets and 10 of 11 free throws. His
only weakness came from the 3-point line where he missed all four

Iverson finished 17-for-31 and went 13-for-14 from the line. He
had a career-high 60 points in a win over Orlando on Feb. 12 and
reached the 40 mark for the eighth time this year.

The Sixers used 17-0 run late in the second quarter to race to a
62-37 lead. They led 66-47 at halftime, scoring a season-high for
points in a half.

Game notes
Brezec got in Iguodala's face late in the second quarter
and was whistled for a technical foul. Brevin Knight and
Bickerstaff also was hit with a T in the first half. Knight got
another technical in the fourth and was ejected. Okafor got one
soon after ... Iverson has scored 50 points three times this season
and has 58 career games with 40 or more points.