The result left both the 76ers (20-21) and Wizards (19-20) one game below .500, but Philadelphia has won five of its last six, while Washington has lost six of its last seven. The Wizards have a losing record for the first time since Dec. 16, when they were 11-12.
"They've still got a tough schedule," said Philadelphia's Matt
Harpring, who guarded Jordan most of the night. "They haven't been
out West yet. They haven't done any of that kind of stuff yet.
We've done all that. We've had all our rough time in December.
"If they can make it through that, then we'll meet them in the playoffs, I guess."
Although he was a comedy of errors in the first half, making haphazard decisions and hitting just 5-of-15 shots with five turnovers, Iverson took over the game after halftime. He made 9-of-17 shots, had just one turnover, stole Jordan's inbounds pass to set up a layup after a Wizards timeout in the third quarter and
started another fast break by blocking Chris Whitney's shot early in the fourth.
Meanwhile, Jordan followed an emerging pattern: He spends his
tank in the first half, then has nothing down the stretch when
teams throw a zone defense around him. He took nearly every shot in
the opening minutes and had 28 points on 13-for-19 shooting at
halftime. But he was 1-for-8 in the second half with four turnovers.
Jordan finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and five
turnovers in 42 minutes. He didn't get much help from the
officials, taking just one free throw the entire game.
The zone also frustrated him the previous night, when he was 2-for-15 from the field in the second half in a loss at Minnesota.
"Right now they consider this a one-man team, and they want to
take this one guy out of the flow of things and see who can step
forward and hurt them," Jordan said. "I came out in the first
half and was really in a great rhythm, and they really sacrificed their defense in the second half to take me totally out of the game.
"This is the one time I hate that zone."
The Wizards again played short-handed. Richard Hamilton, the scorer who can best draw defenses away from Jordan, won't be back until next month, and Christian Laettner was sidelined again with a charley horse.
"Our guys are exhausted. They're dead. We've played undermanned," Washington coach Doug Collins said. "They're physically tired. They're emotionally tired. We haven't had many easy wins. Everything we do we have to scratch and claw for. As we get a little tired, we get stagnant."
Iverson scored seven straight points to give the 76ers an 82-69
lead with 7:10 to play. The Wizards responded with a 9-0 run with
baskets from four different players, including Jordan's only basket
of the second half, a simple dunk off a feed from Tyronn Lue.
A 3-pointer from Aaron McKie, his fourth of the game, with 1:59
remaining, put the lead back in double digits for the 76ers, who
had lost their previous two games against the Wizards this season.
McKie finished with 18 points and made 4 of 6 3-pointers. Eric
Snow had a season-high 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Lue scored 19 points for the Wizards. Hubert Davis had 10. No other Washington player was in double figures.
Jordan came out as if he were the only one on the court. He took
the Wizards' first six shots -- and there was no doubt he would take
them -- and nearly 5½ minutes passed before any of his teammates
took the first shot in a possession.
He made the first three -- all jump shots -- to give Washington a
6-0 lead. He played all of the first quarter, making 9-of-14 shots
and scoring 19 of the Wizards' 23 points as Washington took a 23-19
Sixers starting forward Corie Blount left the game in the first quarter with muscle spasms in his right side and did not return. ... Laettner will also miss Thursday's game against
Cleveland. He recently missed 14 games with a broken leg and has
played just one game since coming off the injury list last week.
... Philadelphia coach Larry Brown said he is leaning toward
putting forward Derrick Coleman, who missed his fourth straight
game with a swollen left foot, on the injured list.
Scott Van Pelt explains why the Warriors potentially losing to the Thunder would be different from other teams that have had great success in the regular season only to fall short in the playoffs.
After losing both games in Toronto, Cleveland returns home in Game 5 with a vengeance as they crush the Raptors with a commanding 116-78 performance to take a 3-2 series lead.
Brian Windhorst joins SVP and discusses the Cavs' concerted effort to get Kevin Love involved in Game 5 after his performance in Toronto.