6:00 PM ET, December 31, 2002
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The slumping Philadelphia 76ers weren't shooting well, so they relied on a go-for-broke defense to produce their first road win in a month.
Allen Iverson scored 27 points and Philadelphia beat the Los Angeles Clippers 83-75 Tuesday night to snap a six-game road losing streak that included three consecutive defeats on their current six-game trip.
"We needed it bad. It just gives you that winning feeling back,'' Iverson said. "We did a lot with our defense, as far as scrambling and trying to get steals and easy baskets.''
Keith Van Horn had 19 points and 13 rebounds and scored most of Philly's key baskets in the final four minutes to preserve the victory.
"He did a great job,'' Iverson said. "He got the ball in spots that he needed it in and that was important. He was more aggressive than he usually is, and that's the way we needed him to play.''
Elton Brand had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers, who lost for third straight time and fifth in their last six games. Andre Miller added 15 points, Michael Olowokandi had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Lamar Odom had 10 rebounds in his second game since returning from the injured list.
"We're having a hard time closing out games,'' Olowokandi said. "In the second half, they put more pressure on us and we couldn't respond to that. It's a very difficult loss.''
Clippers coach Alvin Gentry expressed frustration at his team's poor shooting.
"You're not going to beat an NBA team shooting 34 percent. They shot a blistering 36 percent,'' he said of the 76ers. "We just can't get the ball in the basket, we can't make free throws. We got great shots. Guys have got to knock them down.''
Brand's layup and free throw drew the Clippers within three with 50 seconds left, but Iverson hit a jumper and made a free throw to put the game out of reach.
"A lot of people stepped up, especially on the defensive end,'' 76ers coach Larry Brown said. "We did a better job on Olowokandi, Brand and Odom in the second half. We really made them work hard.''
The Clippers were 15 of 28 from the line, and Brand made just two of six free throws in the final 3:40.
"I take it upon myself, especially late in the game. We need those,'' he said. "I could have helped win this one.''
After outscoring Los Angeles 29-13 in the third quarter, the 76ers went cold during a stretch midway through the final 12 minutes when their 10-point lead disappeared. Miller got the Clippers going with a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock, then he made three straight free throws to put them within eight points.
Corey Maggette hit a 3-pointer for the Clippers, then Iverson scored on a jumper to keep Philadelphia ahead 70-63 with 7:04 remaining.
That's when the Clippers briefly took over, scoring eight in a row. Miller hit a driving layup, Quentin Richardson scored on a goaltending call against Iverson and made the free throw, and Maggette slammed down an alley-oop pass from Miller to give the Clippers a 71-70 lead with 5:37 remaining.
"We knew they'd make a run and we couldn't fight back,'' Brand said.
After two straight misses, Van Horn hit a turnaround jumper to put Philly back in front. After Brand's free throw tied it at 72, Van Horn dunked off a baseline feed from Iverson, Eric Snow hit a driving layup and then Van Horn hit a jumper for a 78-72 lead with 1:28 left.
The Clippers led 41-31 at halftime and quickly built their largest lead, 50-37, on a three-point play by Richardson and a free throw by Brand. The 76ers began their rally by holding the Clippers scoreless for nearly six minutes in the third.
"Most of it was our defensive pressure, which gave us the opportunity for some easy baskets, and we went to the free throw line,'' Snow said.
After Odom hit a free throw, the 76ers scored 11 unanswered points to tie the game at 51. Iverson began the spurt with an 18-foot jumper and then four different players scored.
Iverson then hit four straight free throws, Van Horn hit a 3-pointer and Snow made two foul shots for a 60-54 lead heading into the fourth.
The Clippers blocked 13 shots. ... Iverson extended his double-figure scoring streak to 151 games, the longest active streak in the NBA. ... The 76ers improved to 3-2 playing on New Year's Eve. It was their first time playing on New Year's Eve since 1973; the Clippers had never before played on the last day of the year. ... Philly's last road win was against Washington on Nov. 30. ... The Clippers had their second sellout of the season. ... The 76ers lead the season series 2-0.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||31-85 (.365)||29-83 (.349)|
|3PM-3PA||1-8 (.125)||2-11 (.182)|
|FTM-FTA||20-24 (.833)||15-28 (.536)|
|Fast Break Points||0||5|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||25 (0/0)||23 (2/0)|