Without Iverson, Sixers Roll Over Knicks
Philadelphia 91, New York 76
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 28 (Ticker) -- No one can replace Allen Iverson, so all of the Philadelphia 76ers did.
In one of their best all-around efforts of the season, the 76ers ignored the absence of their superstar and roared to a 91-76 victory over the slumping New York Knicks.
"We just need to concentrate on the win," Webber said. "I think we worked hard defensively as a team. That was good, because we were missing 30 points, so we had to play better defense tonight. Without (Iverson) out there, we had to learn each other's tendencies, what each other likes, so our team could play much better."
Second in the NBA in scoring at 33.6 points, Iverson sprained his ankle late in the fourth quarter of Thursday's overtime loss to Orlando. He played the extra session but could not go Saturday and will not make the trip to Orlando for Sunday's game.
Without him, the Sixers had to rely on ball movement, balanced scoring and defense - a huge weakness this season. But with Samuel Dalembert collecting 15 rebounds and five blocks, Philadelphia limited New York to 35 percent (24-of-68) shooting and held a 51-37 advantage on the glass.
"I just thought that everyone had to pick up every phase of our game because Allen wasn't playing," Sixers coach Mo Cheeks said. "We did that on the offensive end and the defensive end. We shared the ball and we did a lot of good things team wise."
"Sammy goes 1-for-6 but he impacted the whole game. He was phenomenal," Knicks coach Larry Brown said.
The offense ran through Webber and Salmons, who took shots when the defense relaxed and found teammates when they were covered. Webber scored nine points and Salmons seven in a 24-5 surge that closed the first half and gave the Sixers a 53-39 lead.
"Early on, it was kind of shaky on offense," Salmons said. "It wasn't regular out there. There were players that were a little anxious. I know I was. I was all over the place, but once I calmed down, I was good for the rest of the game."
"We put the ball in Chris Webber's hands, who has the ability to make a play for himself or for somebody else," Cheeks said. "When you do not have a player of Allen Iverson's caliber who can score 50 points on any given night, you have to utilize the other players."
Philadelphia led by as many as 19 points early in the third quarter before New York closed to 72-64 with 8:51 to play on a three-point play by Qyntel Woods, who scored a career-high 24 points. However, Webber found Kyle Korver for a 3-pointer.
"We knew we were going to struggle without (Iverson)," Salmons said. "We had a drought in the third quarter where we weren't scoring at all. We just stayed with it and maintained it."
The Knicks still trailed, 79-71, on a 3-pointer by Stephon Marbury with 5:40 to play. But Salmons took over, controlling the offense down the stretch.
The 6-7 combo guard drained two free throws, drove and dished to Andre Iguodala for a dunk, made two more from the line and found Iguodala for a 3-pointer and an 88-75 advantage with two minutes to play.
"I am nowhere near the scorer that Iverson is," Salmons said. "It was a little tiring. During one stretch, I was huffing and puffing. I haven't been that active in a long time, but it was fun."
"You have to adjust your game without a guy that's so good at scoring," Webber said. "The ball movement was great tonight, but it can always get better. Our team defense really did the job for us. I think we gave up 30-something points in the first half. I think we have to give our bench guys a lot of credit for the way our team played tonight."
Iguodala scored 16 points, Korver added 12 and former Knick Matt Barnes nine for the Sixers, who had 10 blocked shots and just 12 turnovers.
Marbury had 14 points and eight assists for the Knicks, who have lost seven of their last eight games. New York committed 18 turnovers.
"We got away from what we were doing in the beginning of the game," Marbury said. "We stopped moving the ball and they started to make some plays. It just wasn't there. Some nights, you just don't have it."
The Knicks held a 34-29 lead with 8:53 left in the second quarter before the Sixers scored 11 straight points to take the lead for good. New York missed 12 of their last 14 shots of the period.
"We started out good," Brown said. "We all talked about respecting them with Allen out. We had a seven-point lead and then we just completely wilted. We had a lot of guys that didn't bring it to tonight and they had a lot of people that brought it."