<
>

Sixers have no Answer, lose fourth in a row

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Now that Mike Dunleavy and the Golden
State Warriors are all but out of the playoff picture, they're
playing with the freedom and comfort they've lacked for 2½ months.

If the Philadelphia 76ers don't pick it up while Allen Iverson
is out, they'll be comfortably out of the postseason race as well.

Dunleavy scored a season-high 28 points, Jason Richardson added
23 and the Warriors sent the Sixers to their fourth straight defeat
without Iverson, 98-89 Sunday.

Troy Murphy had 12 points and 16 rebounds for the Warriors, who
won their second straight after returning from a 1-4 trip that
essentially finished off their faint playoff hopes. They're even
doing it without Baron Davis, their own star point guard who's out
with a sprained ankle.

With the scrutiny of the postseason push essentially gone, both
Richardson and Murphy say they feel relaxed and confident.
Dunleavy, who also had 10 rebounds while capping the
highest-scoring two-game stretch of his NBA career, can't
understand that mentality.

"I don't know what everybody else thinks, (but) after about
January 1, we should have been feeling pressure with the situation
we were win," Dunleavy said of the Warriors' 11-23 record in 2006.
"We've been struggling since then. ... I just looked at playing
and winning games for us. We really shouldn't have been paying
attention to (the playoff picture) all season long."

Chris Webber had 21 points and nine rebounds and Andre Iguodala
added 20 points for the 76ers, whose postseason concerns are much
more pressing: They went winless on their three-game road trip
while Iverson stayed home with a bruised right foot and sprained
ankle.

Philadelphia has lost all four games without Iverson, falling
four games below .500 for the first time this season and allowing
Chicago to creep within striking distance of the 76ers' No. 8 spot
in the Eastern Conference -- though the Bulls also lost Sunday, to
Washington.

"Obviously when you have a guy out like Allen Iverson, it takes
a lot of pressure off their defense," Iguodala said. "We're
trying to focus on moving up, and trying to focus on our ability,
rather than Chicago. We know we're better than eighth place."

Derek Fisher had 12 points and nine assists in Davis' place, but
the game was decided by the Sixers' poor shooting and Golden
State's 53-42 rebounding advantage, which led to easy baskets for
Dunleavy and Murphy.

"You don't feel that pressure we felt throughout the season,"
Murphy said. "We've played great at home. ... (Dunleavy) has been
awesome. He's been having the versatile type of games he can have.
He's grabbing rebounds and even playing some point guard for us."

Dunleavy matched his season-high with 24 points in the Warriors'
win over Minnesota on Thursday night, scoring 17 in the fourth
quarter. He kept that shooting streak in Golden State's next game,
finishing up perhaps the best five quarters of the $45 million
forward's unimpressive season.

Dunleavy led the Warriors in scoring just twice in the first 63
games of the season before doing it in each of the last two.

John Salmons struggled as Iverson's nominal replacement, scoring
13 points on 5-of-18 shooting to go with eight rebounds, eight
assists and seven turnovers. The 76ers couldn't generate the
offensive flow they get with Iverson, no matter what they tried.

"I'm glad this trip is over, and hopefully the nightmare is
over," Webber said. "We have to keep giving the effort we've been
giving (when) we get Allen back, who we need more than we know,
more than anybody can say."

Stephen Hunter had 15 points for Philadelphia, which trailed for
most of the first three quarters before Kyle Korver's jumper with
6:04 to play tied it at 79. But Mickael Pietrus and Dunleavy hit
3-pointers in the final 3 minutes, and the Sixers never got closer
than four points.

Davis sat out his second game with a sprained ankle that hasn't
healed in the last month. The two-time All-Star will sit out at
least until Thursday's game at Dallas.

Webber responded to his usual booing in Oakland with 16 points
in the first half. Nearly 12 years later, the fans still haven't
forgiven Golden State's former No. 1 overall draft pick for his one
tumultuous season with the club, when his power struggle with coach
Don Nelson resulted in a trade to Washington.

Game notes
The woeful Warriors attracted their 11th sellout crowd,
filling the Arena with 19,596 to see the meeting of Philadelphia's
current and former NBA franchises. ... Seldom-used veteran G Kevin
Ollie was solid as Salmons' backup, with eight points and six
assists. ... G Will Bynum, the Warriors' callup from the D-League,
made his Golden State debut.