Iverson, 76ers Hold On Against Bobcats
Philadelphia 119, Charlotte 115
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 9 (Ticker) -- Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers will take the win, even though it may not have felt like one.
On the verge of watching a 20-point lead evaporate in the fourth quarter, the 76ers rode 43 points from Iverson and held on for a 119-115 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, who have lost 10 straight road games.
"For us to win a game in that manner was big," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We lost a few games like that. You don't know how big that was for us. The mental part of the game is big and for us to win that game was huge."
Hot-shooting Kyle Korver matched a career high with 26 points for the Sixers, who ended a four-game losing streak - barely. They revisited a number of problems that have plagued them the entire season.
We're not jumping around overjoyed in this locker room," Korver said. "We had a big lead and gave it up. The same thing happened the other night. We're not ecstatic about our play, but at the same time, we showed what this team is capable of doing. We've got to focus on that and not let the other stuff creep into our heads."
In the season's first week, Philadelphia blew a late lead in a home loss to Milwaukee and were beaten at home by Charlotte. On Wednesday, a case of deja vu began as the Sixers again squandered a late lead in a loss to the Bucks, with the Bobcats on the horizon.
"I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have that feeling," Iverson said. "We're up by 20 points at the start of the fourth quarter and you should win the basketball game outright. The only thing that you learn from these game is that it can't continue to happen. If it does, it's going to be a long season."
The Sixers also had lost the last three 40-point games by Iverson, who reached the plateau for the 63rd time in his career and fifth this season. The NBA scoring leader made 15-of-32 shots and 12-of-14 free throws, adding seven assists and six rebounds.
The Bobcats cut a 21-point deficit to 10 midway through the third quarter and again closed to 103-93 on a 3-pointer by Jumaine Jones before Iverson scored eight straight points for the Sixers and John Salmons added a 3-pointer to rebuild the lead to 114-99 with 3:46 left.
That was the last basket for Philadelphia, which held on for dear life through a series of empty possessions but survived as Charlotte ran out of shots and time.
"We just got down and spent the whole game trying to get back," Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor said. "We could've used a few more ticks (of time), but that's basketball for you."
"We were up by four with 8.6 seconds left and guys had a serious worried look on their face," Iverson said. "When it's eight seconds left and you're up by four, you should feel like you've got that game. We got to get that winning feeling back."
Andre Iguodala scored 20 points, Chris Webber added 12 and 10 rebounds and Samuel Dalembert 12 and eight for the Sixers, who got all but six points from their starters.
Okafor and Kareem Rush scored 15 points each for the Bobcats, who held a 55-6 advantage in bench points and shot 52 percent (47-of-90) but fell to 1-11 on the road, with the only win here on November 4.
Korver led Philadelphia's 9-of-14 effort from the arc by making 5-of-6 3-pointers. He scored 16 points in the first half, which the Sixers closed with an 18-7 surge that opened a 62-48 lead.
"Good teams make runs," Bobcats guard Brevin Knight said. "You have to sustain your defensive effort and make a run of your own. We needed to make a run and we didn't. We tried to make a game of it, but they held on."
Iverson's three-point play capped a 7-0 burst that opened the second half and pushed the margin to 69-48. A 3-pointer by Rush pulled the Bobcats within 77-67 with 5:48 left, but Korver and Iverson scored all the points in an 11-4 spurt that rebuilt the lead to 90-73.
"My shots felt good and I wanted to stay aggressive," Iverson said. "Once I got going, they still didn't leave my teammates wide open to get easy shots. That said a lot about what those guys can do. Kyle and Andre had a big game. That allowed me to make easy plays."