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No Iverson, no problem for Phila.

3/23/2004

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- With Allen Iverson out of the lineup, John
Salmons got a chance to show off his 3-point shooting prowess.

Salmons set career highs with 21 points and five 3-pointers to
lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 107-98 victory over the Dallas
Mavericks on Monday night.

"Shooting is just repetition. That's all," said Salmons, whose
had never made more than two 3s in a game. "For me, there's no
reason to shoot an NBA 3 in college. So, coming out of college, I
just wasn't used to shooting them."

Playing without Iverson and second-leading scorer Glenn
Robinson, the Sixers displayed some of their best ball movement of
the season.

Kenny Thomas tied a season high with 27 points and added 13
rebounds. Rookie Willie Green had 19 points for the Sixers, who
ended a four-game losing streak.

Earlier Monday, Iverson was listed as day to day with a sore
right knee. He ended up missing his 23rd game of the season, the
most he's sat out in one campaign.

Iverson was not on the bench during the game. A team spokesman
said he was in the training room, receiving treatment on his
injured knee.

With Robinson missing his fourth straight game with an elbow
injury, the Sixers' sluggish offense was supposed to be no match
for the high-scoring Mavericks.

"We've been able to find guys that step up in these
situations," Sixers interim coach Chris Ford said. "Johnny and
Aaron (McKie) and Willie all stepped up and did their jobs. They
had an opportunity and made the best of it."

Dirk Nowitzki had 30 points on 11-for-20 shooting to lead
Dallas, which had won two straight.

Philadelphia used an 8-0 run to start the third quarter and
extend a four-point halftime lead to 12. Salmons hit a 3 with 3:42
left in the quarter that gave the Sixers their largest lead at
80-67.

Dallas pulled within 10 with 8:02 remaining in the game when
Nowitzki made a wide-open 3. But McKie hit a pair of free throws
before Salmons sank a 3 and Green added a jumper that pushed the
lead back to 17 and put the game out of reach.

"Thomas was exceptional," Dallas assistant coach Donn Nelson
said. "He gave us all kinds of problems and we didn't have an
answer for that."

Donn Nelson took over when his father, Don Nelson, was ejected
33 seconds into the second half for arguing a foul call.

Thomas made 11 of 13 free throw attempts and had a season-high
seven assists. McKie had 16 points to help the Sixers bounce back
from an 0-4 road trip that ended with a 101-69 loss in Miami on
Saturday night.

The answer to their offensive woes was a Dallas team that
allowed 122 points in the first matchup between the two teams on
Jan. 14.

"I don't think we've scored like that all year," Thomas said.
"At halftime, we had 61 points. It felt good because we had to
match their intensity and knock down shots because they're a
scoring team."

The Mavericks' Steve Nash scored 10 points, but had just three
in the first 3{ quarters. Michael Finley also had 10.

"There's no excuse for our defense," Nash said. "You can at
least guard somebody when things aren't going well (offensively)
for you."

Salmons had 12 points in the first quarter, including two 3s and
a reverse layup in the final three minutes that put Philadelphia
ahead 26-20 after one. The Sixers' lead was no larger than seven
the rest of the first half and they led 61-57 at halftime.

"The odds are against us," Salmons said of Philadelphia's
chances in the Eastern Conference playoff race. "But it's not like
us to give up."
^Notes:@ Sixers F Derrick Coleman (left knee tendinitis) was placed
on the injured list prior to the game. ... Antoine Walker, who was
benched midway through the third quarter of Sunday's victory at New
Jersey and did not return, missed his first three attempts and
finished with nine points. ... The Sixers are now 8-17 this season
against Western Conference teams at home. ... Philadelphia set a
season high with their fourth straight win at home.