Webber Sees 20/20, Sixers See OT Victory
Philadelphia 90, Minnesota 89
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 12 (Ticker) -- With Allen Iverson's shooting out of focus, and the Philadelphia 76ers staring at another monumental collapse, it was a good thing Chris Webber was seeing 20-20.
Webber scored 27 points and grabbed a season-high 21 rebounds as the 76ers survived another late meltdown to post a 90-89 overtime triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.
With Iverson - the league's leading scorer at 34.4 points per game - enduring an 8-for-25 shooting night, Webber carried the team on his aging shoulders on both ends of the floor en route to his ninth career 20-20 effort.
"I want the opportunity to play this way every night," Webber said. "It has nothing to do with what (Iverson) is doing. He's a great player. He's going to get his number of shots. I just want to take my shots."
"Allen didn't have his best game," Sixers forward Kyle Korver said. "You can't expect him to score 40 all the time. Tonight, he didn't play as well as he wanted to, but I felt that a lot of other guys stepped up and played well, especially Chris."
After Minnesota superstar forward Kevin Garnett opened overtime with a turnaround jumper, Webber answered with a pair of jumpers around a free throw by Matt Barnes to give Philadelphia a 90-89 lead with 2:49 remaining.
"The more you're involved in the game, the better it feels," Webber said. "I was touching the ball in my comfort spots and that's all you can ask for."
The Timberwolves did not score again, due in large part to the admirable effort Webber did on Garnett, who was held to a quiet 19 points and seven rebounds.
"They did a (heck) of a job shutting us down down the stretch," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "We just didn't get a clean look and that has a lot to do with their defense."
With a chance to win the game, Garnett split two defenders and had a seemingly uncontested dunk before Webber got a piece of the ball, knocking it out of bounds with 7.3 seconds to go.
After a timeout, Webber deflected Richie Frahm's pass out of bounds and on their last chance - with four-tenths of a second left - the Timberwolves again turned to Garnett, whose shot in the lane was altered by Webber at the buzzer.
"His defense on Garnett was excellent," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Garnett is going to touch the ball a lot, but Chris' defense on him was more important that anything."
Entering the game averaging only 11.8 points over his last four games, Webber appeared like the All-Star of old, dominating in every facet of the game. He finished 13-of-25 from the floor, adding three assists and a pair of blocks in 44 minutes.
"I told coach that I'm not dead by any means," Webber said. "I'm up for those challenges. I relish those challenges. Even if (Garnett) made those shots, it's something that you tell your grandkids about."
The 76ers, who have made a bad habit of squandering double-digit leads in the fourth quarter, took an 83-73 lead on a three-point play by Korver with just under four minutes remaining only to allow the Timberwolves to score the next 12 points.
"A couple of games ago, I was like, 'Here we go again,'" Korver said. "I don't think that we ever doubted that we were going to win this game. We came out hard and we played hard. It was a big win for us."
Minnesota's comeback included a dunk by Trenton Hassell and a layup by Marko Jaric before Frahm and Wally Szczerbiak nailed consecutive 3-pointers to tie it. Anthony Carter stole the ball on the Sixers' next possession and converted a breakaway layup to give the Timberwolves an 85-83 lead with 40 seconds remaining.
But Webber made a short hook shot with 23 seconds left to tie it and forced Garnett into a tough jumper at the buzzer to force overtime.
"(Webber) was our best option as far as putting the ball in the basket," Cheeks said.
"Each player wants to believe in his skills and talents," Webber said. "It takes a while to exhibit what you have. Hopefully, I think that I'm getting to that point, but there is a long way to go."
Iverson finished with a season-low 19 points. The four-time scoring champion added 10 assists, but committed seven turnovers. Korver added 13 and Andre Iguodala 10 for Philadelphia, which has won three straight following a four-game losing streak.
"It's good to put a streak together, no matter who you are playing in the NBA," Webber said. "It's good to get a win and get some encouraging things going. When you lose, it affects your life."
"Webber looked great tonight," Garnett said. "Not to say that he's been struggling with his shot, but Korver and A.I. have been carrying that team a little bit."
Szczerbiak led the Timberwolves with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Jaric added 14 points and 10 assists for Minnesota, which had its road winning streak halted at five.
"We thought once we got into overtime, we'd be fine," Szczerbiak said. "But we just couldn't get over the hump."