AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 22 (Ticker) --
For Allen Iverson
means never having to say you're sorry.
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scored 11 of his 21 points in the final five minutes,
taking charge of the game and lifting the Philadelphia 76ers to
a badly needed 92-83 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
The Sixers came in with eight defeats in their last 10 games,
most of them narrow, last-minute losses. One of them was a
103-94 home overtime loss to Detroit on January 8. On Monday,
they may have hit rock-bottom with a 100-99 home loss to
archrival Boston in which they blew a 23-point second-half lead.
Afterward, a visibly disgusted Iverson called the effort by
himself and his teammates "sorry."
The game was tied with five minutes remaining, a position the
Sixers have handled very poorly of late. This time, Iverson
grabbed hold of the game as virtually every key play centered
"Going into the fourth quarter, I just wanted to stay aggressive
and just take what the defense gave me," Iverson said.
"Fortunately in the last quarter I hit some shots and was able
to find my teammates. Tonight I think my teammates did a good
job of bailing me out."
Iverson made only 8-of-25 shots but had four hoops in the final
five minutes. His biggest basket was a 19-footer over the
outstretched arm of Chauncey Billups
that gave the Sixers an
86-79 lead with 38 seconds to play.
"I was just trying to stay aggressive regardless of what is
going on in the game," said Iverson, who had seven assists, six
rebounds and four steals. "At this point in my career, I've
learned to play while I'm struggling, and that's what I had to
do tonight, being that I was struggling."
Keith Van Horn
scored 16 points and Eric Snow
added 14 for the
Sixers, who shot 50 percent (40-of-80) and won for the third
time in five games.
"I'm just amazed at how hard this team has kept fighting through
all of that," Philadelphia coach Larry Brown said. "I told
them before the game that if we kept up that kind of effort, it
would turn around. It's incredible the way this team has never
stopped fighting. That was evident tonight."
"That was Sixer basketball tonight," added guard Aaron McKie
who had 10 points and eight rebounds. "When we play like that,
we can be good."
scored 20 points and Richard Hamilton
18 for the Pistons, who had won the last three meetings between
"I just think Philadelphia just outplayed us," Pistons coach
Rick Carlisle said. "You've got to take your hat off to them.
They had their backs against the wall. They've had a tough
stretch and they came in here determined."
Iverson's driving three-point play gave Philadelphia a 72-69
lead with 4:46 left. A three-pointer by Billups tied it, but
Iverson made a jumper in the lane with 4:07 to go.
After Billups sank two free throws to tie it, Snow made a jumper
to give the Sixers the lead for good with 3:23 remaining.
McKie followed in a miss by a penetrating Iverson for a 78-74
edge with 2:52 to play.
"At the end of the game, he makes everyone on the team a better
player," Brown said. "He commands so much attention that we were
able to get a couple key offensive rebounds down the stretch."
Hamilton made two free throws, but Iverson got into the lane,
lost the ball, recovered it and shoveled to Kenny Thomas
dunk and an 80-76 lead. After Williamson tipped in a miss,
McKie made a layup and Iverson sank two free throws for an 84-78
with 1:08 to go.
"That team came in and their backs were against the wall, man,"
said Billups, who scored 12 points on 2-of-13 shooting. "They
fought and scratched and clawed their way to a victory."
Iverson added a steal and breakaway layup in the waning seconds
to seal the win.
"We know that it's never over with this team, especially the way
things have gone," Van Horn said. "We could be up nine points
with five seconds left and we're still not going to feel
Thomas had 10 points and seven rebounds for Philadelphia, while
had 15 and nine for Detroit.
Williamson scored 12 points and Robinson 11 in the first half as
Detroit grabbed a 42-39 lead. Despite Iverson's struggles,
Philadelphia stayed close and opened a 67-62 lead early in the
final period on a pair of 3-pointers by Van Horn.
"A guy like Iverson's going to keep coming, so you've got to
continue to play him," Pistons forward Ben Wallace
got it rolling in the fourth and he hit some tough shots."