Motivated Iverson nets 40 to rally Sixers past Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) -- Even though Allen Iverson scored 40 points, the
Philadelphia 76ers knew it took a team effort to rally past the
Houston Rockets.

Iverson had 12 points in the fourth quarter, but he had plenty
of help in Philadelphia's 106-101 on Wednesday night.

"This was a heck of a win for us," coach Maurice Cheeks said.
"And it was very much a team win. Sam (Dalembert) had a big block
for us in the fourth quarter, Johnny Salmons had some big baskets
and Chris (Webber) was fantastic.

"Let's don't forget Allen Iverson. Allen put us in position to
win. But this was still a prime example of a team effort."

Webber had 21 points and 13 rebounds for his 26th double-double
of the season. Kyle Korver added 14 points, including three
3-pointers in the final period. Salmons had 10 points and four
rebounds, and praised Iverson.

"He had it going again," Salmons said. "He's just one of
those special players. Whatever makes a great player great, that's
what he has. I don't know what it is for sure but I'm trying to get

"The good thing tonight is we all contributed when it was
critical. When he's dominating like that and we keep moving and
getting our shots, we can beat anybody -- even Detroit."

The Rockets wouldn't argue on this night.

"Pretty much down the stretch, those guys got any shots they
wanted," said Tracy McGrady, who led Houston with 25 points,
including 12 in the third quarter when Houston led by as many as

"Not only were they shots they wanted, but they were shots in
the paint and those are pretty good shots. We didn't do a good job
of preventing them from getting those shots."

Coach Jeff Gundy agreed.

"That was a very disappointing fourth quarter," he said. "The
level of defense, the intensity, was not correct and the shot
selection was outside-in versus inside-out.

"That's very disappointing and we deserve what we got."

A day after it was reported that Iverson was not among the
players invited to U.S. national team training camp, he responded
with his 12th game of 40 or more points this season. His season
high was 53 at Atlanta on Dec. 23 and he is averaging 33 points,
the most of his nine-year career.

A late 8-0 run, with six points from Iverson, gave the 76ers a
104-98 lead with 1:38 to play. Iverson wrapped it up with a 17-foot
jumper with 21 seconds to play for the game's final basket.

Yao Ming had 22 points and 13 rebounds for his career high-tying
fifth straight double-double and 20th of the season. He had five
straight once before in 2002.

McGrady scored eight straight points early in the third quarter
to put Houston up 53-49. A 12-3 run, including back-to-back 3s by
Rafer Alston and David Wesley, gave Houston its biggest lead of the
night at 67-56 with 5:02 to play in the third.

Philadelphia led by as many as eight early in the second quarter
before a 10-2 run, including five points by Chuck Hayes, gave the
Rockets a 39-37 lead with 4:02 left in the half. Iverson had 19 at
halftime as the 76ers led 47-45.

Iverson had 11 in the first quarter as the 76ers led by as many
as five. But four free throws by Juwan Howard in the final 1:15 of
the period pulled Houston back within 22-21.

Game notes
The 76ers activated backup center Dalembert before the
game. He had missed three games with a left ankle sprain. He played
nearly 20 minutes and had seven points and two rebounds. "I'm glad
to have him back," coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Especially with
Yao Ming here. You have to be very tentative with how you play Yao
Ming." ... F Stromile Swift returned to the active lineup after
missing four games with a right ankle sprain. He did not play. ...
Dikembe Mutombo got a technical foul early in the second quarter
after blocking Iverson's shot and punctuating it with his infamous
finger wagging as Iverson sprawled on the floor. ... The Rockets
had won their last 13 straight at home, including five this season,
when scoring 100 or more points. Their last home loss when scoring
more than 100 was a 117-111 overtime loss to Sacramento Jan. 28 of
last season.