PHILADELPHIA, April 4 (Ticker) --
has seen enough of the
Houston Rockets this season.
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Iverson missed his last 16 shots and was limited to single
digits as the Philadelphia 76ers managed just 32 points in the
second half of an 88-79 loss to the playoff-hungry Houston
Iverson scored a career-high 58 points in an overtime win over
Houston last season. But he was unable to get untracked against
the Rockets this season as he was shut down twice in as many
In a 97-72 loss at Houston on December 7, Iverson was limited to
11 points on 5-of-19 shooting while committing nine turnovers.
Bothered by bursitis in his left knee, he was even worse in this
one, at least when it came to shooting the ball.
The three-time scoring champion finished with eight points,
failing to reach double figures for the second time in the last
nine games. He did not score over the final three quarters,
missing his last 16 shots to go 4-of-23 from the field.
"I try as hard as I can to play the iron man role. Sometimes
you can't do it," Iverson said. "I talked with my wife this
morning about not playing and she said that I shouldn't. I went
out there anyway being stubborn about the whole thing, thinking
it was going to be all right. But, I wasn't me and that's
One of the toughest players in the NBA despite his 165-pound
frame, Iverson indicated he may need some rest for his ailing
knee, which he had drained before the game. He has not missed a
game this season.
"It's something that I don't want to go through again if I can
help it," he said.
Already at a size disadvantage facing 7-5 rookie center
and having lost
Keith Van Horn
to a strained foot tendon late
in the first quarter, the 76ers could not withstand Iverson's
They watched a 13-point lead early in the third quarter
evaporate, then managed just one basket over the first seven
minutes of the final period. In the second half, Philadelphia
made just 10-of-41 shots (24 percent).
"Naturally, if Allen is missing 16 straight, you don't have
Keith Van Horn and (Aaron) McKie
is hurting, you're going to be
in deep trouble," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "(Iverson) is
such a big part of our team. Even if he makes some shots, you
have to help him out. We did not have anybody that seemed to be
able to make shots."
had the unenviable task of
stopping Iverson and did an outstanding job. He was scoreless
in the first half but finished with 12 points.
"I tried to stay in front of him and not go for the pump fakes,"
Mobley said. "When he tried to move into me, he was moving
into nothing at all, and it threw him off balance. He is a hard
player to guard."
"Cuttino Mobley did the greatest job I've ever seen on Allen
Iverson," Rockets acting coach Larry Smith said. "I think it
was a personal challange. He said, 'Coach, I'll take him.' He
came in and battled him, and made it tough on him all night
Yao had 20 points and 13 rebounds and
added 19 and
12 for the Rockets (39-37), who moved within one game of Phoenix
for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western
Conference. Houston has not made the playoffs since 1999.
"We're still in the thick of things," Posey said. This is a
big first step - a road win. We need to build on it. If we do
that, we should be right there."
had 17 points and 10 rebounds and
scored 17 points for the playoff-bound Sixers, who
have lost three of their last four home games. They fell 1 1/2
games behind first-place New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.
"They did a good job at defending us and we did a bad job of
settling," Brown said. "We took too many quick outside shots."
"Coach was telling me o go to the basket and not settle for a
lot of jumpers and I wanted to tell him so bad that I just
couldn't," Iverson said. "I just thought my short-range game
would get me over but I couldn't throw a rock in the ocean."
A jumper by Snow gave gave Philadelphia a 51-38 lead early in
the third quarter, but with Iverson clanging away, Houston got
back in the game.
scored 11 of his 18 points in
the period, which ended with the Sixers holding a 64-63 edge.
Mobley used a layup and turnaround jumper to frame a 10-0 burst
that opened the fourth quarter and gave the Rockets the lead for
good. Snow's jumper at the 6:41 mark was the first basket of
the period for the Sixers.
"I can't keep emphasizing how good our defense was tonight,"
Smith said. "We locked them down."
A layup by
cut the deficit to 79-72 with 4:52
remaining, but Posey and Mobley sank 3-pointers to effectively
seal it with 3 1/2 minutes to go.
had 11 rebounds and
added nine and
nine points for the Rockets, who held a 56-42 advantage on the
glass. Houston shot 40 percent (32-of-80) but limited
Philadelphia to less than 34 percent (29-of-86).
Philadelphia had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Van Horn, Philadelphia's second-leading scorer, hurt himself
with 1:22 left in the first quarter. He hobbled to the locker
room and underwent X-rays, which were negative. An MRI also
revealed a bone bruise, and Van Horn is day-to-day.