Final / OT

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/20

Game 1: Friday, January 20th
Game 2: Sunday, March 12th

Grizzlies 86

(23-15, 10-9 away)

76ers 89

(19-20, 13-7 home)

Coverage: CSN

7:00 PM ET, January 20, 2006

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

1 2 3 4 OT T
MEM 16 23 29 11 786
PHI 25 22 17 15 1089

Top Performers

Memphis: E. Jones 22 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Philadelphia: C. Webber 29 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Iverson, Webber help Sixers sink Grizzlies in overtime

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Maybe it was the players-only paintball outing. Or maybe the earful the 76ers received from coach Maurice Cheeks got their attention. Possibly, it was the 2½ hour practices.

Whatever the reason, Philadelphia's woeful defense was wonderful against Memphis.

Allen Iverson hit the tying jumper with 3.2 seconds left in regulation and scored 30 points to lift the Philadelphia 76ers to an 89-86 overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

"We gave up 86 points in an overtime game. We've given that up in three quarters a lot of times lately," Sixers forward Kyle Korver said.

After a 28-point loss at Washington on Monday that saw Cheeks question the Sixers' effort, and an 11-point loss at home to New Jersey on Wednesday that had Cheeks chew them out in a nearly 30-minute team meeting, the Sixers desperately needed a tough defensive effort and a win.

They got both.

The Sixers had allowed 100 points in four straight games and only Seattle allows more points than their 102.9 average. But from the first quarter when Samuel Dalembert blocked three shots to overtime when he had two clutch blocks on Pau Gasol, defense led the way.

"This would have been a bad one to lose, man, because we did put our effort on defense," Iverson said. "We did play one of the best defensive games that we played."

Iverson had a chance to tie the game 79-all in the final seconds of regulation on a driving layup but he lost control of the ball and it knocked off his knee. Already barking at the referees the entire game, Iverson argued he was fouled, though replays showed he simply muffed it.

But with a chance to seal the win for Memphis with 7.3 seconds left, Eddie Jones missed two free throws.

"I felt good going to the line," Jones said. "I shot them all the same. I should iced the game. This one's on me."

Iverson threw an inbounds pass to Chris Webber, who dished it back to the former MVP near the top of the 3-point arc. Iverson then hit an 18-foot fallaway jumper from the left side with 3.2 seconds to go that tied the game and sent the faithful into a frenzy.

Webber opened overtime with a three-point play, Korver sank a 3-pointer and Dalembert had his blocked shots to give the Sixers a four-point lead.

"I don't want to underestimate the win. We needed a win," Cheeks said.

Webber finished with 29 points and Dalembert grabbed 11 rebounds.

Jones scored 22 points, Lorenzen Wright had 10 points and 10 rebounds and Bobby Jackson had 14 points for the Grizzlies, who lost their fourth straight game.

"I feel badly for us," Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello said. "We got ourselves back after a shaky start. Both teams needed this game."

Trying to shake out of a funk, the Sixers had been holding longer practices that focused mostly on defense. After their loss to the Nets, Cheeks challenged his team to stick together and keep fighting.

Taking Cheeks' message to heart, the players watched film then went on a paintball trip on Thursday. Before the game, several players called it the most fun they had all year.

"We've been looking for something to get us going for a while," Korver said. "We had some long practices, we had some long meetings. But we got back to having fun out there. When you're having fun, you're going to player harder. When you're playing harder, you're playing better defense."

While the Sixers showed signs of improvement on defense early, they struggled in the second half once Jones and Mike Miller found their touch.

Jones put Memphis ahead for the first time since the game's opening minutes when he sank a couple of free throws, only to have the Sixers take the lead right back on a pair of foul shots by Iverson.

Miller then hit two 3-pointers about 30 seconds apart and gave the Grizzlies a 63-60 lead. They made it 68-64 at the end of the quarter and led all the way until the Sixers scored the final six points in the fourth to send it into OT.

With their surprisingly aggressive defense and an offense shooting at 50 percent, the Sixers built a 17-point lead in the second quarter and led 47-39 at halftime.

Game notes

Korver was one of the organizers of the paintball outing ... Andre Iguodala and Antonio Burks had a nasty collision at midcourt chasing a loose ball midway through the fourth. Burks went down hard, grabbed his face and left the game. ... Memphis hasn't won on the road since Dec. 31.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 86 89
FGM-FGA 34-86 (.395) 32-77 (.416)
3PM-3PA 5-22 (.227) 4-12 (.333)
FTM-FTA 13-22 (.591) 21-28 (.750)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-43 7-47
Assists 22 14
Turnovers 14 17
Steals 11 8
Blocks 7 8
Fast Break Points 16 8
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (0/0) 20 (2/0)
Largest Lead 6 17

Top Performers

Eddie Jones Jones
Points: 22
Reb: 9
Ast: 3
Stl: 2
Blk: 1
Chris Webber Webber
Points: 29
Reb: 8
Ast: 2
Stl: 2
Blk: 1