Iversonís 41 Points Carry 76ers Past Sonics
Philadelphia 107, Seattle 98
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 9 (Ticker) -- Making the last stop on their road trip, the Seattle SuperSonics appeared fatigued. Fortunately for the Philadelphia 76ers, Allen Iverson never has that problem.
Iverson collected 41 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and Kyle Korver and John Salmons each hit clutch 3-pointers in the final minutes as the 76ers recorded a 107-98 victory over the SuperSonics.
"It felt like home," said Iverson, who shot 15-of-25 from the floor and 11-of-13 from the foul line. "The crowd was cheering for us. Just being back home in our own atmosphere felt good. The road trip was long. For me personally, it kind of drained me being so long."
Iverson did not attempt a 3-pointer for the first time all season, but admitted that increasing his aggressiveness was part of the game plan.
"I try to get to the basket. I never want to shoot a bunch of jumpers," Iverson said. "I think my percentage is much higher going to the basket. I always try to make a conscious effort to get to the basket, but a lot of teams don't permit me to do that."
With Philadelphia holding a 59-53 lead with just under nine minutes remaining in the third quarter, Iverson fueled an impressive 20-7 run with 10 points, including a driving layup in traffic that made it 79-60 with 3:36 to go in the period.
"It's tough because he shoots so much and comes off so many screens," said Seattle guard Luke Ridnour, who struggled all night trying to guard the four-time scoring champion. "He's one of the best players in the league. He's going to get his (shots). You've got to give him credit."
Iverson opened the pivotal surge with a layup and, after a pair of free throws by Seattle's Vladimir Radmanovic, fed Samuel Dalembert for a dunk and Andre Iguodala for an alley-oop slam.
"We all had to do more as a team," Iverson said. "I felt like I had to play well but I felt that my teammates had to step up as well. We had five players in double figures and we needed that."
Iverson barely missed his second career triple-double and first since Jan. 7, 2002 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
"That's how you should play. When somebody is open, you give it up. ... When you do share the ball, nine times out of 10, there is a lot more positive results that come out of it."
The Sixers were on fire from the floor the entire third quarter, shooting 13-of-19 from the field. Iverson led the charge with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the session en route to the 67th 40-point game of his career and the eighth this season.
"Certainly, coming back here to have a chane to win is better than being out on the road," said Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks, whose team was coming off a disappointing 2-5 road trip. "Obviously we didn't have such a good trip. We were looking forward to get here and trying to win a game."
Seattle sliced its deficit to 93-86 on a 3-pointer by Ray Allen with 5:49 remaining, but Iverson answered by drawing a double-team and finding Dalembert under the basket for a three-point play to restore a 10-point cushion.
Rashard Lewis made a pair of free throws to bring the Sonics back within 98-92 with 3:12 left but Korver answered with a long 3-pointer to turn momentum back in Philadelphia's direction.
"It always big when you get a big basket," Korver said. "You get a dunk or an acrobatic play by Allen or a big three, it always breaks (the other team's) back. But they kept fighting."
Indeed, Seattle closed to 101-95 before Salmons drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner to seal the victory.
"It was pick your poison," said Sonics coach Bob Hill, who fell to 1-3 since taking over for the dismissed Bob Weiss on January 3. "We give Korver a three and then Salmons hits one from the corner. Those two shots hurt us right there. If they miss and we counter, we're right back in the game."
Starting in place of the injured Chris Webber, Salmons gave Philadelphia a nice boost with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Korver finished with five 3-pointers and 17 points while Dalembert chipped in 11 and 10 boards for the Sixers, who shot over 52 percent (38-of-72), including 7-of-11 from the arc.
"It was a real frustrating trip - especially how it ended," Korver said. It was just real frustrating the last couple of days in practice. ... We were just so happy to be home that there wasn't going to be any letdown like that. Man it just feels good to be back home."
Ray Allen led the Sonics with 27 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Radmanovic collected 15 points and 12 rebounds and Lewis added 14 points for Seattle, which shot increasingly worse with every quarter in concluding a 1-4 trip.
"These getaway games are tough," Hill said. "I know that my guys are tired and I've killed them. Practices have been hard because it was something that we had to do. They have to understand the importance of these games. This was a winnable game."