Mash and Co. Rally Past Sixers
PHILADELPHIA, April 13 (Ticker) -- Jamal Mashburn
and the New Orleans
Hornets keep climbing. Allen Iverson
and the Philadelphia 76ers
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Mashburn scored 27 points, including a clutch jumper with 32
seconds left, as the surging Hornets rallied for a 94-89 victory
over the shorthanded 76ers, whose late-season push may be over.
While the top four teams in the Eastern Conference all have
stumbled of late, the Hornets (45-35) have won four of their
last five games to assure themselves of no worse than fifth
place - and possibly higher.
"I think we have as good a chance as anybody," said Hornets
coach Paul Silas, whose team has had injury issues as well.
"Now that we have gotten a chance to play together (and) got a
good taste of winning, I think we'll get back to executing our
offense better, playing solid defense and make a run at this
New Orleans is just one game behind slumping fourth-place
Indiana (46-34) and two in back of Philadelphia (47-33), which
appears destined for the third seed.
A win at Boston on Thursday improved the 76ers to 22-7 since the
All-Star break and gave them a chance to catch both New Jersey
and Detroit for the best record in the East or the Atlantic
Division title. But playing without injured 6-10 starters Keith
and Derrick Coleman
, they lost at New York on Friday
and again Sunday, wasting a 12-point halftime lead.
"I don't know if playing the eighth seed is the best thing in
the world," Iverson said. "You always have that one Cinderella
team that overcomes everything people say that they can't do.
Whatever spot were in, we have to deal with it, and know we have
to win the series. That's that. It's something we wanted to
accomplish; we didn't, so we move on."
"I'm not going to worry about that now," Sixers coach Larry
Brown said. "I don't know who we'll have. Let's hope that
we'll have some of those guys back."
A 3-pointer by Baron Davis
gave New Orleans the lead for good at
85-82 with 2:15 to play.
Mashburn kept it a three-point game with two free throws 38
seconds later. After Iverson missed a potential tying
3-pointer, the 6-8 Mashburn made his patented turnaround jumper
from the post for an 89-84 bulge.
made a leaning 3-pointer and layup around a split pair
of free throws by Davis, cutting the deficit to 90-89 with 11
seconds remaining. But fourth-quarter hero Stacey Augmon
two free throws, and Snow's long 3-pointer was an airball.
"When we're an unselfish ballclub, we are a hell of a team,"
Mashburn said. "I like playing with these guys when we're
unselfish. When we're selfish, it's pretty ugly. Tonight we were
able to pull this one out."
Davis scored 16 points for the Hornets, who won two of three
from the Sixers this season and could catch them in the
conference standings. New Orleans visits New Jersey and hosts
Atlanta, while Philadelphia visits Chicago and hosts Washington.
Iverson had 30 points and 10 assists. But he made just 8-of-23
shots and did not have a basket in the fourth quarter.
With Van Horn and Coleman out, the Hornets used their size to
their advantage. They held a 45-36 edge on the boards and a
24-10 margin in second-chance points.
"When you have big bodies like (New Orleans does), it always
presents a problem," 76ers swingman Aaron McKie
said. "They are
one of the better rebounding teams in the league all-around.
They did a pretty good job of giving themselves second
Two free throws by Iverson gave Philadelphia an 80-76 lead with
5:04 to play before the defensive-oriented Augmon - who was
guarding Iverson - emerged on offense. The 6-8 swingman made a
banker, an inside hoop and a fast-break layup to give New
Orleans its first lead at 82-80 with 3:15 left.
"Stacey Augmon took us out of the game on the defensive end as
well as the offensive end," Brown said.
Snow, who scored seven of his 12 points in the final three
minutes, tied it with a jumper before Davis gave the Hornets the
lead for good.
In the first half, the Sixers got their transition game going
behind Iverson, who scored 22 points. His 3-pointer just before
halftime opened a 53-41 lead.
But New Orleans shut down the running game and got back into it
in the third period. Philadelphia went scoreless for the first
four minutes and stopped getting easy baskets as its lead was
reduced to one on four occasions.
"We started the second half shooting bad shots," Iverson said.
"The first four or five I took - not one of them was a good
shot. It's important to come out at halftime with intensity and
we just came out flat."
"(Coach) challenged us to perform," Davis said. "We had to come
out and play better defensively."
Snow's three-point play closed the quarter and gave the Sixers a
had 14 points and 10 rebounds, David Wesley
scored 13 points and P.J. Brown
swept 10 boards for the Hornets,
who shot 44 percent (35-of-79), including 6-of-11 from the arc.
scored 13 points, Brian Skinner
added 12 and Kenny
nine and 13 boards for the Sixers, who shot 40 percent
(29-of-72) overall, 3-of-5 from the arc and 28-of-31 from the