Allen Rallies Sonics Past Sixers
Seattle 102, Philadelphia 98
SEATTLE, March 16 (Ticker) -- The Philadelphia 76ers at least have an excuse for letting a fourth-quarter lead slip away.
Even without leading scorer Allen Iverson, the 76ers built a six-point fourth quarter advantage, but were done in by All-Star Ray Allen, who scored 12 of his 26 points in the final 12 minutes to lead the Seattle SuperSonics to a 102-98 triumph.
"You have to give Philadelphia a lot of credit," Sonics coach Bob Hill said. "They're playing without Iverson, they are fighting for a playoff spot and I thought they played hard. They certainly had the momentum most of the first half and most of the third."
Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks knows his team is feeling the loss of his high-scoring All-Star guard.
"When you know you need a basket, you can give the ball to (Iverson) and he can go get you a foul or something," he said.
Andre Iguodala, who scored 17 points, gave Philadelphia its biggest lead at 73-58 with a layup with seven minutes to go in the third period.
The Sonics began their comeback by outscoring the Sixers, 15-6, to close out the quarter. They continually chipped away until Chris Wilcox, who scored six of his 17 points in the fourth, dunked to give Seattle an 89-88 lead with 3:54 to go.
"I've got an opportunity, and right now, I am just taking advantage of the situation," said Wilcox, who is averaging 12.7 points since being acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers on February 14. "I am getting more comfortable and the guys are believing in me."
Allen put the Sonics ahead for good, breaking a 92-92 deadlock with a jumper with 2:25 remaining. He made the lead five with a 3-pointer 91 seconds later.
Philadelphia battled back to within 99-98 with 5.1 seconds left on a 3-pointer by John Salmons, who scored all 12 of his points in the final session. The Sixers then were given a glimmer of hope when Allen split two free throws with 3.9 seconds left.
"I didn't feel totally confident at the free-throw line because my first free throw (of the game) missed. It went in and popped out," said Allen, a 91 percent free-throw shooter. "The second one I took went in and tried to come back out. So I was thinking about it more than I normally would. I was trying to be too perfect."
Without a timeout, Philadelphia had to go the length of the court. Iguodala tried to hit Chris Webber with a long inbounds pass, but Lewis intercepted it to seal the win.
"I saw Chris Webber down the court wide open and I just ran back, and I don't think the guy who threw it saw me because there were a lot of guys in front of me," Lewis said. "He threw it and I just stepped in front of Webber."
Webber collected 20 points and 11 rebounds and Steven Hunter added a career-high 20 points for the Sixers, who fell a full game behind Milwaukee for the seventh seed and two behind Indiana for the coveted sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We got the lead and we kind of tightened up, and they hit big shots down the stretch and we didn't," Hunter said. "When you are missing your star player, he would have been able to bring this one home for us."