Iverson, Sixers Rally to Stun Spurs
Philadelphia 103, San Antonio 100 (OT)
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 15 (Ticker) -- Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers took a page out of the San Antonio Spurs' guide to success.
Iverson scored 42 points and Kyle Korver and Andre Iguodala made big shots late in regulation as the 76ers rallied for a stunning 103-100 overtime victory over the Spurs, who have lost two straight games for the first time in nearly two months.
"There have been many games that we have been ahead and it looked like the game was over when we had the game won and someone came back to win the game," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "This was a game on the opposite side where it looked like San Antonio had the game won. They missed some foul shots, we made some shots and got a chance to win the game."
The Sixers were able to snap out of their funk Wednesday by mimicking the Spurs' clutch shooting and tenacious defense.
"Hopefully this game can be a turnaround and will give us that confidence that we can finish down the stretch," Iverson said. "Playing against the World Champions, being down and being able to come back, shows that we can come back and keep fighting."
Michael Finley made a jumper to give San Antonio a 90-87 lead with 27 seconds left in regulation before Manu Ginobili stole the ball from Webber and converted a pair of free throws six seconds later.
Iverson raced down the court and made a layup to bring Philadelphia within three and, after Ginobili made 1-of-2 from the line, Korver connected on a deep 3-pointer from the left wing with seven seconds to play to make it 93-92.
"We were saying in the huddle that we needed a three," Korver said. "John (Salmons) passed it to me. I gave it back to John and then I came and got it. I just shot it and it went in."
"We made a huge mistake," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's hard to believe we let Korver go for three when we're up four, but we did. He got away from us, that was the biggest play tonight."
The Sixers quickly fouled Finley, who split his free throws, giving the hosts one more chance to tie it. Without a timeout, Philadelphia was forced to inbound to Webber, who raced upcourt and missed a long jumper. But Iguodala grabbed the rebound in the lane and dropped in an uncontested layup with 1.1 seconds remaining.
"Korver hitting the shot, that was disappointing," Popovich said. "Then they get the biggest rebound of the game. That was the second-biggest play of the game. We just gave it away with those bad plays."
With a chance to win the game, Tim Duncan found Tony Parker on a backdoor cut, but the All-Star's layup left his hands a split-second after the buzzer sounded.
"I turned to shoot and I saw him at the last second," Duncan said. "I tried to fire a pass to him real quick and I should have shot the ball. If I had it in my mind to pass the ball, I may have gotten it to him quicker."
Iverson opened the extra session with a running bank shot, giving Philadelphia its first lead since early in the third quarter. Webber added a free throw shortly thereafter and Iverson drilled another jumper for a 99-94 edge.
Despite several turnovers and missed free throws in the ensuing minutes, San Antonio still was able to slice its deficit to 100-98 on Ginobili's acrobatic floater with 16.9 seconds to play.
"Taking care of the basketball, more than anything," Popovich said when asked about improvements he'd like to see in his team. "I don't think we're going to end up being a great free-throw shooting team. Turnovers and rebounds are probably the two biggest areas."
Korver, an 80 percent free-throw shooter, missed 1-of-2 to keep it at a one-possession game. After the Spurs took their last timeout, Ginobili missed a deep two-pointer on the other end but former Sixer Nazr Mohammed was fouled on the rebound before making both free throws.
Webber responded by hitting on both of his foul shots and Salmons blanketed Ginobili on the final possession, forcing the former All-Star into an airball as the buzzer sounded.
"We deserved to win this game," Webber said. "If we look at everything and take it with a grain of salt, I think that we'll be OK. It we don't get too high or too low, we could be a very good team. We just have to make it work every night."
Parker led San Antonio with 23 points - all but two of which came in the first three quarters. Duncan added 19 and 15 rebounds and Mohammed recorded a season-best 18 points and a career-high 20 boards for the Spurs, who had not dropped two straight since Dec. 18-20.
"We really felt that we gave that game away," Duncan said. "Tonight we tried to shore up a couple of things and we still get a bunch of turnovers and missed free throws. We had a chance to win at the end and we gave it away."
Philadelphia closed the second quarter on a 17-4 run, capped by Webber's dunk with 35 seconds remaining, to take a 43-41 lead into the break. Iverson scored eight points in the surge but finished the first half just 6-of-15 from the field for 16 points.