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Hughes comes back to haunt Sixers with 22

12/6/2001

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Philadelphia 76ers never doubted Larry Hughes' abilities, even when they traded him two years ago. Hughes proved his former team right by playing a key role in the Sixers' latest loss.

Hughes scored 22 points against his former team, and Danny Fortson had 11 points and 15 rebounds as the Golden State Warriors snapped a four-game losing streak with a 93-87 victory over the 76ers on Wednesday night.

Hughes, whose transition to point guard has gone more smoothly than most expected, had one of his best games of the season in his second meeting with the Sixers since the trade.

He has led the Warriors in scoring in three of their last four games. Hughes had extra motivation against the team that praised him -- yet traded him anyway.

"It wasn't really a motivation, because we needed a win much more than I needed to beat the Sixers," Hughes said. "I just like playing against Allen (Iverson) and those guys, because they bring out the best in you. They've got a great organization and a great coach, so we're glad we could win."

Hughes went 9-for-17 from the field and had four assists and
four steals as the Warriors ended a string of six straight losses
to the 76ers. Golden State used a zone defense and Hughes'
playmaking skills to hold off Philadelphia during a close fourth quarter.

"We're aware of the kind of player Larry is, and he had a great game," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "Their zone really affected us late in the game. ... I didn't have us prepared for their zone very well. We were very tentative against it, and they made the plays."

Dikembe Mutombo cut Golden State's lead to 84-83 on two free
throws with 2:04 left, but Mutombo fouled out 16 seconds later.
After Fortson hit a free throw and Erick Dampier blocked Corie
Blount's shot, Hughes stole the loose ball from Iverson and hit
Jamison, who scored 19 points, for a layup.

Brown criticized referee Greg Willard, who made some key calls against Philadelphia late in the game.

"You're close, and you have a referee decide the outcome of the game," Brown said. "Dikembe's sixth foul, Vonteego's (Cummings) charge and Corie's blocked shot -- late in the game, the same referee makes all those calls. That's pretty tough."

Iverson left the game with an injured hand shortly after that play. The team said Iverson sprained his left thumb, and he would get X-rays before Friday's game at San Antonio.

"It's real banged up right now," Iverson said.

Jamison and Dampier hit late free throws to seal the Warriors'
third win in 11 games after a promising start to the season. Golden
State's impressive effort against the Eastern Conference champions
thrilled the normally somber Oakland crowd.

"The way we played defense in the last couple of minutes is the
way we're going to have to play all the time," said Dampier, who
matched his career-high with six blocked shots. "Blocks and
forcing turnovers can really get us in the flow, running up and
down the court."

Iverson scored 23 points -- but for the second straight night, he
disappeared in the fourth quarter, scoring just two points as the
Sixers lost for the fifth time in six games. Even Aaron McKie's
return to the lineup after missing two games with a heart condition
didn't help.

"There's a variety of reasons we're (not playing well),"
Iverson said. "Tonight we let a zone frustrate us. To be
professionals and let a zone frustrate us is a bad thing."

Matt Harpring rebounded from a terrible performance one night
earlier in Philadelphia's loss at Sacramento to score 25 points,
but the 76ers were outrebounded 49-33 and couldn't score late.
Harpring also hurt his thumb in the third quarter and didn't score
in the fourth.

McKie was back in the starting lineup after undergoing a minor
procedure to help his atrial fibrillation. He didn't score in his
first 33 minutes before hitting a 3-pointer with 7:34 left.

Game notes
The 76ers' bus was involved in a three-vehicle accident in
San Francisco, delaying the team's arrival until 40 minutes before
the game. Nobody on the bus was injured. ... Actor Danny Glover and
Raiders receiver Jerry Rice were in the crowd. ... Speedy Claxton
scored four points in 17 minutes after leaving Tuesday night's game
with flu symptoms.