Sixers head West after winning eighth straight


PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Philadelphia 76ers prepared for a crucial road trip with another big win.

Allen Iverson scored 24 points and Derrick Coleman added 16, leading the Sixers to their eighth straight victory, 104-83 over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.

Philadelphia moved within four games of New Jersey and Indiana for the No. 1 seed in the East. The Sixers begin a five-game road trip against the West at Denver on Sunday night.

"We're playing better. We're trying to play the right way,'' Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "I'm hopeful we can build on that.''

Karl Malone had 19 points and Calbert Cheaney and Mark Jackson each had 10 for Utah, which has lost three in a row.

Keith Van Horn had 10 points and 12 rebounds and Eric Snow added 12 points and 11 assists for the Sixers, who avenged a 29-point loss to Utah on Dec. 28 and improved to 8-0 since the All-Star break.

"I threw the ball all over the place,'' said Malone, who had a
season-high seven turnovers. "We started to come back and I made
some bad decisions. I don't have a lack of focus. I just threw the
ball away. I've been playing for 18 years. I don't ever lose focus.''

Both teams traded leads for the first 18 minutes before the Sixers broke it open with a 14-1 run that closed the second quarter.

Iverson ignited the run with a driving layup and free throw, and
Coleman had a finger roll and dunk during the spurt.

A pair of free throws by Snow capped a 9-2 run in the third,
giving Philadelphia its biggest lead to that point, 68-47.

The Jazz cut it to 72-60 on a 10-footer by Jackson, but Coleman
hit a turnaround jumper, Greg Buckner made a layup and Aaron McKie
sank two free throws to make it 78-60 with 1:42 left in the third.

Utah didn't get closer than 17 the rest of the way.

"This was a tough test against a solid, playoff-tested team,'' Van Horn said. "We're heading out West with a good feeling. We're very confident.''

Former Sixer Matt Harpring scored just two points on 1-for-7
shooting before leaving with a sprained ankle at halftime. Harpring
hurt his ankle with 5:13 left in the second quarter, but stayed in
the game. He'll be re-evaluated on Saturday.

Iverson shot 9-for-23, and had six assists. Coleman was 7-for-9,
grabbed six rebounds and had four steals. Both players, along with
Van Horn, didn't play the final 6:44.

"They just outplayed us,'' Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They
played well and did whatever they wanted to do. In that second
quarter, during that stretch, we missed three layups and threw the
ball away four or five times.''

Game notes
Sixers F Monty Williams sat out his second straight game
because of pain in his left knee. Williams has missed all but eight
games due to his knee injury. ... Cheaney returned after missing
one game with the flu. ... Utah plays seven of its next nine on the
road. ... Snow, coming off his first career triple-double, had just
one rebound. ... The Sixers play 12 of their 16 games in March on
the road. They are 13-13 away from the First Union Center. ...
Malone had a season-high seven turnovers. ... John Stockton had
nine assists in 22 minutes. ... Philadelphia is 8-3 when Iverson,
Coleman, Van Horn, Snow and Kenny Thomas are the starting five.