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McKie scores eight in OT to lift Sixers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Tired, drained and pained by a shoulder
injury, Aaron McKie wouldn't let this one slip away.

McKie scored eight of his 22 points in overtime, leading the
Philadelphia 76ers to an 89-83 victory over the Phoenix Suns on
Wednesday night.

Phoenix's loss and Utah's victory over the Los Angeles Clippers
knocked the Suns out of playoff contention, ending a string of 13
seasons in postseason play.

Dikembe Mutombo added 16 points, and Matt Harpring had 11 points
and a career-high 13 rebounds for Philadelphia, which snapped a
two-game losing streak and moved within 1½ games of Orlando for the
No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Sixers won for the third time in six games since Allen
Iverson fractured his left hand on March 22.

"I can't wait to get home," said McKie, who played for just
the sixth time after missing 23 of 26 games with a sprained ankle.
"I was tired, but I wasn't going to let them see it."

Stephon Marbury scored 27, Shawn Marion had 21 points and 12
rebounds, and Jake Tsakalidis added 17 points and 12 rebounds for
the Suns.

"We just didn't make the plays down the stretch offensively or
defensively," Suns coach Frank Johnson said. "They turned up the
defensive pressure and we made some turnovers. We didn't get into
offensive rhythm."

McKie, who hit a 17-footer to tie it with 18.6 seconds left,
drilled two straight jumpers in overtime, giving the Sixers an
81-79 lead. After Marbury missed a jumper, McKie grabbed the
rebound and scored on a driving layup to make it 83-79 with 2:30
left.

McKie made two free throws for an 85-79 lead, but the Suns got
within 85-83 on two free throws by Alton Ford. Derrick Coleman
answered with two free throws and Eric Snow iced it with two more
free throws.

"He was great, made all the big plays," Snow said of McKie.
"His aggressiveness shows he understands we need him."

McKie's status for the game was uncertain after he sprained his
right rotator cuff in Sunday's loss to Toronto. The injury was not
related to the shoulder problem that required arthroscopic surgery
before the start of training camp.

"I protected it a lot. It's the same situation as last year,"
McKie said. "We're a resilient group. When times are down, that's
when we need each other most."

Philadelphia, which trailed throughout the second half, cut it
to 72-71 on two free throws by Coleman with 2:15 left.

A putback by Tsakalidis gave the Suns a 74-71 lead, but Mutombo
made two free throws to get the Sixers to 74-73. Tsakalidis hit one
of two free throws for a 75-73 lead, but McKie tied it with his
jumper. Marbury missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have
won it in regulation.

"We had a nice lead and were playing well, then something
happened," Marion said. "Too many times we didn't get a god look
at the basket."

The Sixers erased a 10-point deficit with a 12-0 run as Phoenix
missed 10 straight shots and went scoreless over a stretch of 5:56
late in the second.

But Marion hit a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left in the first
half to tie it at 40.

Phoenix again beat the buzzer at the end of third when
Tsakalidis put back a miss for a 60-57 lead.

"We just grinded it out and we executed pretty well," Sixers
coach Larry Brown said.

Game notes
Sixers guard Speedy Claxton left the game in the first
quarter because of an upset stomach and didn't return. He had a
headache by the time the game was over, and will see a neurologist
on Thursday. Claxton missed Sunday's game because of a mild
concussion. ... Philadelphia is 7-29 when trailing after three
quarters. ... The Sixers had lost five of six at home. ... It was
just the fifth time in the last 19 games that Phoenix didn't trail
by 10 or more points at any point during the game. ... The Sixers
are 3-11 without Iverson this season. ... Suns swingman Dan Majerle
missed all nine of his shots. ... Philadelphia swept the season
series for the first time since 1985-86. ... The Sixers are 2-0 in
overtime this season.

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