Jackson’s Late Layup Lifts Pacers Over 76ers
Indiana 94, Philadelphia 93
PHILADELPHIA, March 5 (Ticker) -- Stephen Jackson and the Indiana Pacers got a break when the Philadelphia 76ers had another defensive breakdown.
Jackson got loose for a layup with 2.9 seconds remaining, giving the Pacers a 94-93 victory over the 76ers that provided some breathing room in the Eastern Conference.
Anthony Johnson scored 18 points for the Pacers (30-26), who completed a 3-1 road trip and maintained their hold on fifth place in the East by beating the 76ers for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
"It's big for the simple fact that we needed this win," Jackson said. "We feel ourselves getting better as a team and growing as a team. This win on the road is a big step."
The Sixers held a 93-92 lead after two free throws by Chris Webber with 50 seconds to go and had possession after Jackson - who made just 5-of-20 shots - missed a jumper with 30 seconds left.
However, Johnson cut off the penetration of Allen Iverson, who passed to Webber too late to avoid a 24-second violation, giving Indiana another chance with 4.9 seconds left.
After a timeout, the Pacers ran cutters off a series of screens. Jackson got away from Kyle Korver, took the inbounds pass from rookie Sarunas Jasikevicius and put in a layup over the smaller Kevin Ollie.
"It wasn't a buzzer-beater, but it ended up winning the game," Jackson said. "We knew that they were going to switch and I just made a hard cut to the basket. I'm glad that I made it because I hadn't made a shot all night."
"We set it up a little differently," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "AJ (Johnson) had been going good and we figured that they react to his movement on the court. They switched everything and got crossed up. Jack got open and laid the ball in."
On the play, Philadelphia's much-maligned defense had the 6-foot Iverson defending the inbounds pass and no player taller than 6-7 on the floor. Samuel Dalembert, who leads the NBA in blocks per game, was on the bench.
"I don't mind getting beat with a last-second jump shot against what I thought was the best defensive group we had," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "The one thing that I said before we went out on the court was that we were going to take away the layup. If they had beat us with a jump shot, fine, but we didn't switch the correct way. We gave up a layup and that is a killer."
"We were supposed to switch everything," Sixers forward John Salmons said. "We went small so that we could switch. I'll take the blame on this one; it was on me."
On the final possession, Iverson inbounded to Webber, who faked a pass and fired a 3-pointer that rimmed out as the horn sounded.
"It felt good but I didn't get in there so it wasn't good," Webber said. "That's a shot that I take all responsibility for. It's a play that's been ran everywhere I've been and I should be prepared to hit that shot. I like to be in those situations and I'm disappointed I missed that shot."
Jackson missed a potential game-winning jumper Friday in Boston. He scored 15 points and David Harrison added 13 off the bench for Indiana, which had lost five straight meetings with Philadelphia.
"It was tough because I know that my teammates have enough confidence to put the ball in my hands," Jackson said. "I want to got out there, make the right play and make the basket. My teammates had enough confidence in me today to throw me the ball."
"I was happy that Jack had the chance to make the game-winning shot," Carlise said. "I'm happy for our team to pull out a one-point game. We've had a couple of tough losses in situations like this. It gives you a lot of confidence to be able to pull one out."
Iverson had 33 points and nine assists and Webber scored 17 points for the Sixers (30-29), who missed 10 free throws and fell one-half game behind Washington into seventh place in the East.
"To fight like we fought for the majority of the game and to have that happen with 2.9 seconds on the clock is just devastating," Iverson said. "We played well. We shared the ball, played good solid defense and we pretty much rebounded with them for the whole game. We just didn't get it done."
Philadelphia held a 46-45 halftime edge before Indiana used a 9-2 surge late in the third quarter to open a 74-68 lead. Two free throws and a pull-up jumper by Iverson gave the Sixers an 82-82 tie with 8:07 left.
Iverson's fadeaway jumper over Johnson gave Philadelphia a 91-90 lead with 2:26 to play, but Johnson responded with a lane jumper over Iverson less than a minute later.
"Anytime you come into this building and get a win against their full roster, that really says a lot," Johnson said. "Iverson had it going, but we weathered the storm and got a much needed road win."