PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 17 (Ticker) -- Allen Iverson
scored 37 points and Dikembe Mutombo
added 17 and 14 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics for the seventh time in a row, 99-83.
Two nights after dropping 40 on Cleveland in a 94-91 victory that snapped a seven-game losing streak, Iverson went 14-of-24 from the floor and increased his league-leading average of 27.8 points per game.
"We did a great job," Iverson said. "We played great team defense and just helped each other out."
Aaron McKie scored 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting off the bench for Philadelphia, which has not lost to Boston since March 26, 1999.
Allen Iverson doing what he does best -- letting a jumper fly.
Jesse D. Garrabrant
had 11 points during a 19-6 run and cut Philadelphia's 22-point lead to 65-56 on a dunk with 3:41 remaining in the third quarter. But McKie scored 11 points over the rest of the period to make it 78-57 entering the fourth.
The Celtics got no closer than 15 points thereafter and lost for the 11th time in the last 13 meetings with the Sixers.
Boston, which had won three games in a row to get off to its best start (14-7) since the 1991-92 season, was paced by Pierce's 24 points.
"When you get down like that on the road against the Eastern Conference champions, it's going to be an uphill battle," Pierce said. "We got off to a bad start and they got a big lead. We were not able to recover from it."
Antoine Walker added 15 points for the Celtics but was just 6-of-23 from the floor -- 0-of-11 from 3-point range. Backup center Vitaly Potapenko chipped in a season-high 14 points.
"We did a good job of denying their two good scorers (Pierce and Walker) the ball," Iverson said. "We made things happen on the court."
The Sixers shot 53 percent (35-of-66) while limiting the Celtics to under 39 percent (31-of-80). Philadelphia had a distinct advantage at the line, making 27-of-34 free throws to Boston's 14-of-20, and had a 46-31 cushion in rebounds.
Iverson scored 14 points and Mutombo had nine and six rebounds in the first quarter as the Sixers jumped to a 30-21 lead.
"(Boston) was fronting the post and we thought we had a chance of getting the ball inside a little bit against the front," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "Our big guys were real active. Dikembe posted up harder a couple times than we have in a long time."
"We were not staying in front of them," Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "Anytime you let them have an easy time going underneath the basket, they're going to have an easy time."
Iverson continued his hot play in the second quarter, scoring another 10 points to give the Sixers a 51-35 lead at the break. Mutombo had 11 points and 12 rebounds by halftime.
"We came out with a defensive mentality in the first half," Brown said. "Allen got it going offensively, but Dikembe, Derrick (Coleman) and Matt (Harpring) were terrific defensively. We forced them out and denied the ball."
Potapenko led the Celtics, who shot just 31 percent (13-of-42) in the first half, with eight points.
"I don't pay attention to what people think about the 76ers," O'Brien said. "They beat us tonight because they played like defending Eastern Conference champions."
"This was a huge step for us," Brown said. "Hopefully, we can run with this."