Iverson clutch down stretch to finish Hornets


NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- It turned out Allen Iverson didn't need as
much help as coach Larry Brown thought.

Iverson capped a 45-point performance by scoring Philadelphia's
final six points -- including a key straightaway bank shot with 10
seconds left -- as the 76ers eliminated the New Orleans Hornets with
a 107-103 victory Friday night.

Iverson's second-best offensive showing of the series came one
game after coach Larry Brown said Iverson's teammates appeared too
hesitant to shoot big shots and relieve some of the pressure on the
Sixers' leading scorer.

"After that first game I had 55 points and heard everybody
talking about what they were doing against me, all I thought about
is keep fighting and something positive will come out of it," said
Iverson, who was held to 30 points or less in Games 2 through 5 --
two of which the Hornets won.

"Obviously, I wasn't dead in the water. It's just not as easy
as people think to score 55 points night in and night out."

Several other Sixers had solid games as the Sixers won on the
road for the second time in the series. Keith Van Horn had 18
points and 18 rebounds, Derrick Coleman had 16 points and Kenny
Thomas 10.

Brown told his players to give Van Horn a standing ovation when
he came into the locker room after the game.

"I wasn't going to tell him because I've been on his case so
badly," Brown said. "You play against a team like that's got so
many athletic long guys that rebound the ball effectively, and he
comes up with 18 rebounds in a game like this."

Jamal Mashburn, playing his second game with a chipped bone in
his right middle finger, scored 36 to lead New Orleans. The Hornets
were hurt by 14-for-23 free throw shooting, missing five of eight
in the final period.

"It was a fun game to play in. They just had an exceptional
player out there (in Iverson) -- a guy who can create his own
shots," Mashburn said.

Baron Davis added 21 points and 11 assists for New Orleans but
missed substantial chunks of time because of foul trouble. David
Wesley added 19 points, but fouled out while struggling to guard

"In the fourth quarter we couldn't get anything going. They
stepped their defense up and we had missed layups, missed free
throws, and you can't win like that, not against this team," Davis
said. "Their guys stepped up and some of us didn't."

Iverson had 15 points in the fourth quarter.

With the game tied at 101 with 1:43 left, Snow found Iverson
open in the corner for a jumper that gave Philadelphia the lead for

At the other end, Robert Traylor rebounded Davis' miss close to
the basket but couldn't convert the putback. Snow missed a jumper
with 38 seconds left, and Van Horn grabbed his final rebound to
allow Philadelphia to retain possession.

Iverson, guarded closely by Davis, then knocked in a jumper off
the glass for a 105-101 lead.

"The shot Iverson hit at the end was a miraculous shot,"
Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "A big-time player stepped up."

Davis made a layup with 3 seconds left, but Philadelphia
inbounded to Iverson, who was fouled and made both free throws to
lock up the victory.

The 76ers advanced to play the winner of the Orlando-Detroit
series, which is tied 3-3 with Game 7 set for Sunday afternoon.

The Hornets had the benefit of Philadelphia being over the foul
limit with 10 minutes left, but couldn't take advantage.

Philadelphia, which trailed by as many as 13 early on, didn't
take its first lead until early in the third quarter. Coleman, who
would score 11 in the period, started the second half with a pair
of strong inside baskets to put the Sixers ahead 56-55.

Then Mashburn got hot, scoring 21 third-quarter points, mostly
on turnaround jumpers and fadeaways, to put the Hornets ahead 87-83
heading into the final period.

Carrying momentum from their Game 5 victory and energized by a
revved-up home crowd, the Hornets jumped out to a 15-2 lead by
scoring on seven of their first eight possessions. Mashburn started
the Hornets off with a short jumper and a straightaway 3 on the
next possession.

Iverson then drew Philadelphia to 27-22 with a pair of jumpers
and three 3-pointers. He scored 14 in the quarter, which ended with
the Hornets leading 31-25.

New Orleans had the lead up to 53-41 in the second quarter after
Jamaal Magliore hit a short running hook in the lane. Philadelphia
responded with an 11-2 run to close the half, with Iverson ending
it by stealing the ball from Mashburn and running the floor for an
uncontested layup with less than a second left, leaving the score

Game notes
Iverson has scored 20 or more points in 18 straight playoff
appearances, including 11 with 30 or more. ... The
standing-room-only crowd of 18,570 was the largest of the Hornets'
first season in New Orleans. ... Magloire said he has yet to make
up his mind about playing for Canada in the Olympic qualifying
tourney this summer. Magloire, who started every game this season
at center, is a restricted free agent. ... As they have throughout
the playoffs, 76ers staff told reporters Friday to ask Iverson
"basketball questions only," meaning no questions about either
the recent shooting of his friend -- in which police say Iverson may
have been a target -- or Thursday's hit-and-run involving Iverson's