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Philly sweeps season series with Indy

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Pacers coach Rick Carlisle had hoped Allen
Iverson would be worn out.

Not a chance.

Iverson, the Philadelphia 76ers lighting quick guard who never
seems to tire, had enough energy Friday night to score 16
fourth-quarter points and rally the Philadelphia 76ers to a
critical 90-86 victory at over Indiana.

Iverson finished with 43 points, seven assists and four rebounds
just one day after playing 53 minutes against Miami.

"I understood we had to play back-to-back and we've got four in
five nights," Iverson said. "All I thought about was just going
out there and competing, I didn't think about being tired."

It was a typical Iverson performance.

He hit 16-of-30 shots, 9-of-11 free throws and was so quick off
the dribble that the Pacers constantly committed fouls.

If Iverson was tired, it certainly didn't show -- especially late
when he accounted for all but eight of Philadelphia's 24
fourth-quarter points.

The victory not only gave Philadelphia a four-game sweep of its
season series with the Pacers but also allowed the 76ers to take a
one-game lead over Cleveland for the No. 7 spot in the Eastern
Conference.

Cleveland's 119-111 loss to Washington was a double blow to the
Pacers, who lost for just the second time in 10 games. They entered
Friday night tied with the Wizards for the No. 5 seed and one game
behind Chicago for the No. 4 spot and homecourt advantage in the
first round. But the Wizards and Bulls both won, dropping Indiana
into the No. 6 slot.

The Pacers were led by Stephen Jackson, who had 17 of his 21
points in the first quarter, and Anthony Johnson, who finished with
20 points. Reggie Miller had 13 but missed a potential go-ahead
3-pointer with 32 seconds left and a 3 that would have tied it with
5 seconds left.

"As far as seeding and positioning, all that kind of stuff, the
one major thing is trying to get homecourt advantage in the first
round," Johnson said. "At the same time, playoffs is when men
show up to play and you've got to get it done at home and on the
road."

Lately, the Pacers have answered nearly every challenge.

Iverson changed the equation Friday night with a first-half
flurry that got the Pacers into foul trouble and a late burst that
left the Pacers almost breathless.

He drove, hit runners, spotted up for two 3-pointers and
routinely decimated the Pacers defense. With the game still in
doubt, the NBA's leading scorer delivered the dagger -- spotting up
from the top of the key with 8.8 seconds left to give the 76ers an
89-86 lead.

He was the difference in a game marred by the ejections of Dale
Davis and Samuel Dalembert and four technical fouls.

Davis and Dalembert were entangled while battling for a rebound
midway through the third quarter and drew a double foul. After the
whistle, Davis chased Dalembert across the lane, his hand cocked
for a punch. No punches were thrown but the players shoved and both
were ejected.

"I just saw Dale Davis going toward him," Iverson said. "I
didn't think Sam should have gotten thrown out of that game for
protecting himself, but the referee made the call and you've got to
live with that."

The bigger problem for Indiana was Iverson, who got help from
Chris Webber. Webber finished with 21 points and eight rebounds.

But it was Iverson who rallied the 76ers from a 74-70 deficit
with 10:16 left. He tied the score by hitting a driving layup and a
10-footer -- a sequence that sparked a 10-3 run that gave
Philadelphia an 80-77 lead.

The Pacers came back, retaking the lead 86-84 when Johnson made
two free throws with 1:02 to go.

But Webber completed a three-point play, and after Miller's
3-pointer rolled off the rim, Iverson hit the jumper from the top
of the key with 8.8 seconds left to seal the win.

"I had all kinds of good looks tonight, it just didn't go down
for me," Miller said. "We all know how tough he (Iverson) is and
durable he is. He's given us problems over the years, especially
this year he's played great against us."

Game notes
Philadelphia is the only Eastern Conference team the Pacers
have not beaten this season. ... Iverson has now scored at least 20
points in 55 straight games, but his string of three straight
double-doubles ended Friday. ... Indiana's Austin Croshere had a
season-high 15 rebounds. ... The Pacers lost for just the second
time in 10 games and for only the fifth time in their last 19 home
games. ... Philadelphia, which made its last 28 free throws against
Miami on Thursday, made its first two Friday before Iverson's miss
ended the streak at 30 with 1:28 left in the first quarter.