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Iverson pours in 40 as Sixers beat Nets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Philadelphia 76ers got their
groove back, and not a moment too soon.

Allen Iverson had 40 points and 10 assists and Chris Webber
returned from a back injury to score 18 as Philadelphia remained
tied for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with a 116-96
win over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night.

With four games left in the regular season, the 76ers have won
three games in a row after losing 10 of 13. Their resurgence has
them thinking playoffs as they travel to Miami for a game Friday
night.

"It's been a total effort by everybody, the starters and the
guys off the bench," said Webber. "It feels like we're looser out
there."

Philadelphia will need Webber if it hopes to play beyond next
week, and he put in a strong effort after missing two games with a
lower back strain. He shot 8-for-18 and had 11 rebounds in 30
minutes.

"It feels good. It was good to get out on the floor," Webber
said before adding, "I'm glad I didn't have to play in the fourth
quarter."

The 76ers shot 61 percent (14-for-23) in the first quarter when
they began to pull away, and shot an even 50 percent for the game
(44-for-88). The 116 points was more than any team has scored
against the Nets this season.

New Jersey fell to 1-3 since tying a club record by winning 14
games in a row.

"We're not proud of what happened," said Nets coach Lawrence
Frank. "I think when you look at it we had four games in five
nights, and at this point of the year we knew it was going to be
tough. Obviously this game meant a whole lot to Philadelphia and we
just didn't have it defensively."

Philadelphia will need all the wins it can get since Chicago
owns a tiebreaker, courtesy of a better conference record. The
76ers took care of business Wednesday by taking advantage of a Nets
team already locked in to a playoff berth and coming off a game at
Chicago the night before.

The disparity in energy was evident from the outset, as after a
brief New Jersey flurry to start the game the visitors took over
and never trailed.

"They're a team that won 14 games in a row," said Iverson.
"We felt they were going to come out and play hard. We just wanted
it. We can go to Miami and they've already locked it up, so
hopefully we can jump on them the same way."

Iverson had a quiet first quarter with five points, then scored
17 in the second quarter when the 76ers burst out to a 21-point
lead. New Jersey mounted a token run in the third quarter but never
cut the lead below 15 points. By the fourth quarter, Frank had
cleared his bench.

Vince Carter led New Jersey with 21 points and Nenad Krstic
added 18, but they were the only two Nets in double figures.

The 76ers face an uphill road with games at Miami, Orlando and
Charlotte sandwiched around a home game against the Nets next
Tuesday.

"We know it's crunch time and that each and every game is like
a playoff game for us," said Steven Hunter, who scored 11 points
off the bench for Philadelphia. "We want to show Chicago that we
want it more than they do. We've got to play with the same urgency
and focus that we've had in the last few games and we should be
OK."

Game notes
Iverson scored 40 or more points for the 15th time this
season. He reached 40 points and 10 assists for the fifth time. ...
After giving up 100 points or more in one of 14 games, New Jersey
has allowed more than 100 in four of its last five games. ... Nets
C Jason Collins (right knee bruise) missed the game for New Jersey,
as did F Antoine Wright (left quad strain). ... 76ers G Kevin Ollie
missed his third straight game with a right quad strain ... Carter
extended his club-record string of games with 20 or more points to
23, tying a personal high he reached twice while playing for the
Toronto Raptors.