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Sixers' comeback falls short down stretch

1/18/2003

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Each time the Philadelphia 76ers got close,
Ray Allen put the Milwaukee Bucks farther ahead.

Allen scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half, leading the
Bucks to their fifth straight victory, 99-95 over the Sixers on
Friday night.

"We appreciate winning games like this,'' said Allen, who made
all 11 of his free throws. "We played textbook in the first half.
We did everything right. We knew they'd pick it up. We just had to
make stops.''

Sam Cassell scored 12 and Tim Thomas and Toni Kukoc each added
11 for the Bucks, who are within one game of .500 at 19-20.

Philadelphia's Eric Snow had a chance to tie it with three free
throws with 2.4 seconds left, but he missed his first attempt.

"I kind of threw myself off,'' said Snow, who entered shooting
86.6 percent from the foul line. "Instead of thinking of making
one at a time, I was thinking of making all three. I threw myself
off.''

Keith Van Horn scored 22 points, Snow had 18 and Allen Iverson
and Brian Skinner each added 17 for Philadelphia, which has lost
seven of eight and is 5-15 since starting 15-4.

The Sixers, who trailed by 14 in the fourth quarter, got within
93-92 on a long jumper by Van Horn and two free throws by Aaron
McKie with 57.8 seconds remaining.

After Cassell missed an 18-footer, the Sixers had a chance to
take the lead. But Snow missed a driving layup, and Cassell made
two free throws to make it 95-92 with 16.2 seconds left.

Kenny Thomas put back a missed 3-pointer by McKie to cut it to
95-94. But Allen made two free throws with 4.4 seconds to go.

Kukoc then fouled Snow behind the 3-point line. But Snow missed
his first shot. He made the second one, and purposely missed the
last one. But Anthony Mason got the rebound for Milwaukee and iced
it with two free throws.

Allen had three of his free throws during an eight-minute
stretch in which Milwaukee missed 11 straight field goals in the
fourth. He has missed just 12 foul shots in 144 attempts this
season.

"We're in a good mode right now,'' Bucks coach George Karl
said. "We're heading in the right direction.''

Iverson, who had 34 points, a team-high seven rebounds and seven
assists in Philadelphia's 108-107 victory over Atlantic
Division-leading New Jersey on Wednesday, missed seven of his first
nine shots and 10 of 14. He took just four shots in the second
half, finished 6-for-18, had nine rebounds and seven assists.

"There's no excuse for us coming out the way we did,'' Iverson
said. "We had some momentum coming off a big win, and we were
looking forward to getting another one, but we couldn't get it
done.''

The Sixers went on a 13-2 run to get within 89-86 with 4:12
left. A driving layup by Snow, and layups by Skinner and Van Horn
cut the deficit to three.

After Jason Caffey started the third quarter with a layup that
gave Milwaukee a 62-45 lead, the Sixers went on a 15-4 run to get
within six.

McKie began the run with a short jumper and finished it with two
free throws. Snow had consecutive driving layups, and Van Horn had
a 3-pointer.

But Allen then took over, and the Bucks regained their
double-digit lead.

Allen scored 10 of Milwaukee's next 15 points, including six
free throws, as the Bucks took an 81-68 lead into the fourth
quarter.

The Bucks outscored Philadelphia 16-6 over the final 4:48 of the
second quarter to take a 60-45 halftime lead. Thomas made a layup
and hit two 3-pointers during the run. Michael Redd's 3 gave
Milwaukee its biggest lead, 60-43.

Game notes
The Bucks had lost five of seven before their current
winning streak. ... There were three ex-Sixers on the court:
Thomas, Kukoc and Kevin Ollie. ... Milwaukee has used 12 different
starting lineups. Thomas is the only Bucks player to start in all
39 games. ... Sixers center Todd MacCulloch missed his second of
three games because he's undergoing treatment for a nervous system
disorder. ... The Sixers completed their homestand 1-5. They
started the season 10-0 at home. ... The first 5,000 fans got plush
dolls in the likeness of the television character ALF wearing a
Sixers uniform.