LOS ANGELES, June 6 (AP) --
Now the Philadelphia 76ers -- not the Los Angeles Lakers -- can talk sweep.
|Mutombo played a huge role against L.A.|
Robert Mora/NBAE Photos
|NBA.com TV highlights: 28.8+ |
If they dare.
"We might have shocked a lot of people. I don't think we shocked ourselves," Tyrone Hill
said after the Allen Iverson
-led 76ers beat the Lakers 107-101 in overtime Wednesday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
It appeared the Lakers would extend their winning streak to 20 when they scored the first five points of overtime, but the 76ers scored 13 of the game's final 15 points, including seven straight by Iverson.
"You get down five in the Finals against the Lakers and everybody's got their brooms out," Iverson said. "That drives us.
"Anybody that bet on it, some broke people out there. Some people got their feelings hurt. I'm glad nobody bet their life on it, because they definitely would be dead right now."
Clearly relishing his first appearance in the Finals, Iverson was incredible for the first 2 1/2 quarters, scoring 38 points as the 76ers took a 73-58 lead.
The Lakers inserted seldom-used Tyronn Lue
at that point -- a player who imitated Iverson in practice earlier in the week, all the way to wearing a bogus protective sleeve on his right arm.
Guarded by the speedy Lue most of the rest of the way, Iverson scored only three points until his flurry in overtime gave the 76ers a 103-99 lead with 48.2 seconds left and, as it turned out, enough points for the victory.
"We're one up. The sweep isn't going to happen and we just have to do whatever we can to stay in it," said 76ers coach Larry Brown, in the Finals for the first time in his 18-year NBA coaching career.
Iverson sinks a jumper over Tyronn Lue with less than a minute left in OT:
987k avi |
Game 2 will be played Friday night at STAPLES Center before the best-of-seven series moves to Philadelphia for Games 3, 4 and, if necessary, 5.
The Lakers entered the Finals as overwhelming favorites. And why not? They hadn't lost since April 1, winning 19 straight games including 11 to begin the playoffs, inspiring many to call them one of the best teams in NBA history.
That still might be the case; remember the 1991 Finals, when the Lakers won Game 1 in Chicago before the Bulls won four straight for the first of their six championships in the 1990s?
Lakers coach Phil Jackson certainly does, having coached the Bulls to those six titles, but that's certainly the furthest thing from his mind right now.
"Yeah, the streak was great, and now it's time to get back to business about playing ball here in this series," Jackson said. "I'm kind of relieved it's over in some ways."
The raucous STAPLES Center crowd began chanting "SWEEP, SWEEP," even before Game 1 began, and the Lakers looked the part by scoring 16 straight points early on for an 18-5 lead.
The 76ers obviously weren't fazed, closing within one point by the end of the quarter and taking a 56-50 halftime lead.
The Lakers took their only lead of the fourth quarter on a dunk by Shaquille O'Neal
with 1:57 left, but Snow scored the final points of regulation 19 seconds later.
So the Lakers won't become the first team ever to sweep through the playoffs.
"It's time to create another streak," said O'Neal, who had 44 points and 20 rebounds in a losing cause. "They played great. They hit a lot of shots, Iverson had a great game, a great performance."
One of the game's biggest plays occurred with 2:40 left in overtime and the Lakers leading 99-94, when Robert Horry
was called for an offensive foul after a steal.
"I can't afford the fine. I don't want to talk about it," he said. "It'll be a true test now. We hadn't lost a game."
The Lakers' backcourt of Kobe Bryant
and Derek Fisher
was terrific in the previous 11 playoff games, but ineffective against the 76ers.
Bryant, averaging 31.6 points in the postseason, shot 7-for-22, scored 15 points and committed six turnovers. Fisher, averaging 15.1, was held scoreless, missing four shots.
And neither was nearly as effective as Lue in defending Iverson.
"I don't think Kobe Bryant had a Kobe kind of day, and he will play better Friday," Snow said.
"They played a great game," Bryant said of the 76ers. "They did an excellent job pressuring us in the backcourt, not allowing us to get into our sets."
Snow and Dikembe Mutombo
added 13 points each, and Matt Geiger
scored 10 for the 76ers. Mutombo also had 16 rebounds and five blocks, and O'Neal was at his best in the third quarter when Mutombo was sitting out with three fouls.
scored 15 of his 19 points in the first 13 minutes.
"We can still make history," he said. "We definitely would have loved to have done that. We failed. The focus has always been to try and win the championship.
"We respected that team over there, I think they felt they needed respect from everyone else."
The 76ers made 23 of 25 free throws, while the Lakers were 15-of-27, with O'Neal going 10-for-22 to account for all of his team's misses. ... The Lakers are playing in the finals for the 20th time since moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles 40 years ago. ... O'Neal had his third 40-point, 20-rebound game of the playoffs. ... Iverson has scored 118 points in his last nine quarters - 26 in the fourth quarter in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 44 in Game 7 and 48 Wednesday night. ... Lue, who played the final 22 minutes, played 58 minutes in 10 previous playoff games. He was a surprise member of the Lakers' postseason roster. ... This was only the second time in finals history that players from opposing teams scored 40 or more. Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley each scored 42 in Game 2 of the 1993 Finals.