Sixers Win, Pull Even With Pistons

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Philadelphia 95, Detroit 82
Sixers Win, Pull Even With Pistons

Derrick Coleman battling Ben Wallace for one of his 15 rebounds.
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PHILADELPHIA, May 11 (Ticker) -- Three days after blowing a chance to even the series, Allen Iverson seized his second opportunity.

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The superstar guard scored 15 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and added 11 assists to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 95-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons, squaring their Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.

Admitting he "let one slip away" Thursday in Game Two when he missed two free throws with 15 seconds left in regulation of Thursday's overtime loss at Detroit, Iverson made sure the Sixers would get even Sunday with a terrific all-around performance.

"I'm not surprised at all. I feel good about what we accomplished," said Iverson, who was 13-of-27 from the field and 9-of-13 from the line. "You know, I like back-to-back games a whole lot. I was just looking forward to tying this thing up."

The Sixers won games in back-to-back days here with Iverson dishing out a total of 22 assists to go with 61 points.

"That's what makes their team so hard to play," Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. "You have to deal with him and all the chain reactions he causes out there. Obviously, we'll have to do a better job. We didn't do a good job the last couple games here."

Game Five is Wednesday at Detroit.

The Pistons did a better job on the boards than they did on Saturday, when they were outrebounded, 48-30, but again had a rough shooting night, going more than 5 1/2 minutes without a point in the second quarter when the Sixers went on an 11-0 run to open a 42-30 lead.

Iverson hit a 14-foot jumper, a pair of free throws and an 18-foot fadeway to highlight the spurt.

The Pistons hit just 4-of-17 shots in the second quarter, the last field goal a hook shot in the lane by Zeljko Rebraca with 6:34 left in the half. Detroit did not score again until Richard Hamilton hit a free throw with 1:21 remaining.

A finger roll by Iverson increased Philadelphia's lead to 57-43 with 4:21 left in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Iverson hit 6-of-8 shots, including his only 3-pointer of the night, and two free throws.

Iverson sank three jumpers as the Sixers started the fourth quarter with a 9-3 run to match their biggest lead at 70-56.

Detroit would get no closer than nine on a layup by Corliss Williamson with 3:31 left. But Iverson responded with his only 3-pointer to virtually seal the win.

"Chasing him around is always tough," Hamilton said. "I'm running on offense and I'm running on defense. But I'm cool. That's what the playoffs are about. You have to grind it out and leave everything on the floor."

Hamilton led Detroit with 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting, but the rest of the Pistons shot 38 percent from the field (19-of-50). Chucky Atkins was the only other Piston in double figures with 11 points.

"We have some things we can do to get shots but we have to be more aggressive ourselves," Atkins said. "We'll go back to the drawing board. I expect us to be a lot more aggressive both offensively and defensively."

Detroit also committed 18 turnovers which led to 22 points.

"We had too many turnovers and they (the Sixers) only had eight," Carlisle said. "It's hard to win when you turn it over as much as we did."

Starting point guard Chauncey Billups returned after missing the last two games with a sprained ankle, but missed 5-of-6 shots and finished with three points in 23 minutes.

Philadelphia's Derrick Coleman and Kenny Thomas again outplayed Ben Wallace and Clifford Robinson inside. Coleman had 14 points and 15 rebounds and Thomas added 14 points. Wallace grabbed 15 rebounds, but scored just seven points and Robinson finished with five points on 2-of-9 shooting. Tayshaun Prince, the hero of Game Two, was also just 2-of-9 from the field for Detroit.

"D.C. (Coleman), Kenny (Thomas), our big guys defensively for the most part were sensational," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "And Allen's overall game just keeps getting better and better."

76ers forwward Tyrone Hill strained his right calf in the third quarter and did not return.