Dalembert, 76ers Block Grizzlies in OT
Philadelphia 89, Memphis 86
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 20 (Ticker) -- After a session of paintball, Samuel Dalembert protected the paint.
Dalembert twice blocked shots by Pau Gasol in overtime, helping the Philadelphia 76ers scramble for an 89-86 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, who have lost a season-high four straight games.
"For us as competitors, we needed this game," Iverson said. "To lose this one would have really been bad because we played really well defensively. We did put out an effort on defense. This was one of the best defensive games we've played."
Having lost five of their last seven games with porous defense, several members of the 76ers participated in paintball during their time off, hoping to pull together rather than fall apart.
"I have to admit it was fun," Dalembert said. "Every single one of us enjoyed every minute of it - except at the end when the whole team was against me. They (attacked) me because I wasn't getting shot the whole time. I didn't know that my own teammate was going to turn on me."
With the 6-11 Dalembert as the backstop, the Sixers displayed some defense, holding the Grizzlies to one basket in the final 5:18 of regulation. They cashed in when Eddie Jones missed two free throws with 7.3 seconds to go and Iverson buried the tying 15-footer from the left wing with 3.1 seconds left.
"We just called a play that gave Chris the ball at the top of the key," Iverson said. "He handed it back to me I was to drive to the lane and see what I could get."
For Iverson, it was a second chance to make good. On the previous possession, he committed a turnover as he was stripped by Bobby Jackson, although he thought he was fouled.
"I didn't lose it," Iverson said. "I was blessed with another opportunity and fortunately this time it worked out right. If it didn't, I'd be in here losing a lot of my money. That was bad. At that juncture of the game and a significant play like that, you have to be able to see that play. All three referees have to be able to see what is going on."
After never leading in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia never trailed in overtime as Webber opened with a three-point play. A 3-pointer by Kyle Korver pushed the margin to 85-81 with 2:53 remaining before Dalembert smothered a runner by Gasol.
Jackson and Iverson traded baskets before Dalembert struck again, blocking a drive by Gasol with 43 seconds to play.
"My intension was to not let him get comfortable," Dalembert said. "You're not going to stop him completely because you're going to get into foul trouble. For somebody like me who doesn't get to touch the ball on the offensive end, it felt good to touch it on the defensive end."
The Sixers held on despite Webber's three missed free throws in the final 17 seconds. The Grizzlies had a chance to tie, but Dalembert ran at Shane Battier as he launched a 3-pointer from the left corner that bounced off the rim.
Dalembert had nine points, 11 rebounds and six blocks for Philadelphia, which ended a four-game slide in the series and improved to 9-1 at home against Western Conference teams. Jones had 22 points and nine rebounds and Jackson added 14, nine and eight assists for Memphis.
"We got ourselves back in the game after a very shaky start," Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello said. "Seems like the things that hurt us at the end were the same things that hurt is in the beginning."
Using their league-leading defense, the Grizzlies stormed back from a 40-23 deficit to take the lead in the third quarter. They still held a 79-73 advantage after a hook by Gasol with 1:45 remaining in the fourth period.
"Down the stretch was when we had our lead," Fratello said. "We had critical turnovers that didn't let us get shots at the basket."
Webber answered with a hook and Dalembert sank two free throws with 37 seconds to go. The Sixers appeared done when a driving Iverson was stripped, leading to Jones' free throws. But he missed both, giving Philadelphia another chance.
"I shot them all the same," Jones said. "It would be different if you missed it long or short. When they go in and it comes right out of the basket, that's tough to deal with. ... I should have iced the game and we would have come into the locker room happy."
Consecutive 3-pointers by Mike Miller, who scored 13 points off the bench, capped a 24-9 spurt that opened the second half and gave Memphis a 63-58 lead.