Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 10/30

Game 1: Tuesday, October 30th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 30th

76ers 96

(23-22, 12-8 home)

    Coverage: CSN

    7:00 PM ET, January 30, 2002

    Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 25 18 27 2191
    PHI 18 34 17 2796

    Top Performers

    Minnesota: W. Szczerbiak 31 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Philadelphia: A. Iverson 38 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk

    Sixers creeping back into playoff chase

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- This is the team Allen Iverson expected to see before the season started.

    Allen Iverson soars over the T-Wolves' Wally Szcerbiak.

    Iverson scored 38 points and Derrick Coleman added 18 points and nine rebounds, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 96-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

    The Sixers have won 11 of 15 this month to get back in the playoff race. The defending Eastern Conference champions are 23-22, seven games behind New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.

    "We're just coming together as a team," Iverson said. "We're understanding where we need to be on the floor. We understand how to win with each other. This team is so much different than last year. Last year we could be 10 points behind with two, three minutes left and we just knew we'd win. We just have to get that fight like last year. The new guys want to get that fight because they don't want to be a loose link."

    Dikembe Mutombo's putback of a miss by Eric Snow broke an 88-88 tie with 56.4 seconds left and Iverson hit a long jumper to make it 92-88 with 29.4 remaining. Iverson then iced it with a pair of free throws.

    Wally Szczerbiak had 31 points and Kevin Garnett added 18 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota, which has lost four of five after winning 11 of 12. The T-Wolves missed a chance to move into a tie with Dallas for first place in the Midwest Division.

    "We need to go back to the way we were playing three, four weeks ago," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said.

    The T-Wolves were coming off an embarrassing 33-point loss to Cleveland, which had lost 12 straight before beating the Timberwolves on Tuesday. But they started fast and led most of the first half.

    The Sixers then outscored Minnesota 16-6 to close the second quarter and take a 52-43 halftime lead.

    "We were hungry after the loss last night," Garnett said. "We didn't make the plays like we're supposed to."

    After wasting a 12-point, third-quarter lead, the Sixers tied it at 77 on a pair of free throws by Coleman midway through the fourth. But Anthony Peeler hit a 3-pointer to make it 80-79.

    The teams traded baskets until Mutombo tipped in Snow's missed layup to give the Sixers a 90-88 lead in the final minute. After Rasho Nesterovic missed a runner, Iverson hit a long jumper to put it away.

    "We're winning some close games now," said Matt Harpring, who had 16 points and nine boards. "When it comes down to the final minutes in tough games, we're making shots and obviously we need to do that if we're going to be a playoff team."

    Szczerbiak, who had a season-low three points Tuesday night, scored 16 in the first quarter.

    Minnesota, which trailed by 12 midway through the third quarter, outscored the Sixers 21-8 to take a 70-69 lead heading into the fourth.

    "It's frustrating to come up short," Szczerbiak said. "We need to step up and not allow it."

    Just five Sixers remain from the team that lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals last year. Philadelphia opened the season with five straight losses, dropped seven in a row at one point, and just got back to the .500 mark last week for the first time since early December.

    "We're playing a lot better than we were," Iverson said. "We were so unfamiliar with each other and guys were hurt, too. Hopefully, when we get everyone back together practicing, our chemistry will be a lot better."

    Game notes
    Sixers guard Aaron McKie missed his third consecutive game with a left ankle and Achilles tendon strain. McKie has missed 11 games this season after sitting out seven the previous six seasons. ... The Timberwolves are 24-2 when they hold opponents under 100 points. ... The Sixers are 13-7 this season when Iverson scores 30 or more. ... Philadelphia scored a season-low 71 points in a loss to the Knicks on Tuesday. ... Nesterovic had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 96
    FGM-FGA 36-93 (.387) 36-86 (.419)
    3PM-3PA 4-12 (.333) 0-6 (.000)
    FTM-FTA 15-20 (.750) 24-27 (.889)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 20-47 19-50
    Assists 26 22
    Turnovers 14 13
    Steals 8 7
    Blocks 6 3
    Fast Break Points 18 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 14 (1/1)

    Top Performers

    Wally Szczerbiak Szczerbiak
    Points: 31
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Allen Iverson Iverson
    Points: 38
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1