Allen Iverson started the game 1-for-7, but by the end he had 33 points and reason to smile.
Iverson scored 33 points, including 21 in the second half, to
lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 91-79 victory over the Miami Heat
on Tuesday night.
Iverson, who started the game 1-of-7, finished 11-of-28 to help
the Sixers snap a two-game losing streak and remain 1 1/2 games behind
Orlando for the fifth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I've been struggling all year with my elbow and my shooting
and everything," Iverson said. "It's important for me to just
"That's the thing I've learned the most lately is how to play
struggling, and it's important for me when I am struggling not to
get down on myself, to keep fighting. And eventually, something
good will happen like it did tonight."
The Heat, coming off their most lopsided win of the season
Saturday against Denver, lost for only the third time in 10 games
and fell two games behind the Hornets for the final playoff spot in
the Eastern Conference.
"There are still a lot of games left," Miami coach Pat Riley
said. "This one doesn't feel too good now because we played well
for three quarters, but we fell apart in the fourth."
The teams were playing the first of back-to-back games, with a
second meeting on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
The Sixers are 3-0 against the Heat this season, and Iverson has
scored 25, 31 and 33 points while shooting 33 percent.
After losing consecutive home games against Sacramento and
Orlando, the Sixers were looking to get back on the winning track
against one of their Eastern Conference rivals.
"This is probably one of our best games of the year," 76ers
coach Larry Brown said. "We had a lot of guys step up. I thought
Allen played about as well as he's played any time I've been
"This was a big win for us. We've had some good road wins, but
I think under the circumstances, after us losing two real tough
games at home and playing a team that's playing as good as anybody,
this is probably as good a win as we've had all year."
After trailing 45-41 at halftime, Philadelphia closed the third
quarter with a 15-2 run over the final 5 1/2 minutes to take a 66-60
lead. Iverson scored 11 points, including a free throw that put the
Sixers ahead 61-60 with 44 seconds left in the period.
Alonzo Mourning helped keep the Heat close in the fourth with 11
points, and Eddie Jones' layup closed the gap to 74-72 with 7:01
Iverson then hit a pair of 3-pointers, the second one producing
an 84-74 lead with 3:05 left.
"It was a wide-open shot and I don't get too many wide-open
looks," Iverson said. "When the ball bounced to me, we had the
momentum, I took the shot and thankfully it went in."
Jones scored 23 points for Miami, and Mourning added 21.
Derrick Coleman added 20 points for the 76ers. Coleman's status
is day-to-day after he was diagnosed with a torn meniscus of the
left knee before the game.
"I didn't even expect him to play and I thought he was
sensational," Brown said.
The Heat had no explanation for their collapse in the third
quarter, when they scored just 15 points and committed five
"You have to play this game for 48 minutes," Mourning said.
"If you have a lapse in that 48 minutes, you have to recover, and
we didn't. We had a lapse and they went on a run, and we had no
sense of urgency at that time."
Philadelphia has won five of the last six games against
Miami. ...76ers center Dikembe Mutombo is the only player on his
team to start all 66 games this season. ...Heat sixth man Jim
Jackson scored four points in 31 minutes after missing Monday's
practice because of tendinitis in his left knee. ...76ers forward
Matt Harpring returned to the lineup after missing Sunday's game
against Orlando with a stomach virus. Harpring scored eight points
in 27 minutes. ...Heat backup point guard Anthony Carter missed the
game because of personal reasons.