Iversonís Absence Evident in 76ers’ Loss
Golden State 98, Philadelphia 89
OAKLAND, Calif., March 19 (Ticker) -- If the Philadelphia 76ers are missing superstar Allen Iverson any longer, they might miss the playoffs.
The 76ers allowed another winnable game to get away with poor execution down the stretch, absorbing their fourth straight setback in a 98-89 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Second in the NBA in scoring at better than 33 points per game, Iverson sprained his foot a week ago at Memphis. Philadelphia (31-35) won that game but has not won since, faltering in the fourth quarter without their leader in three of those contests.
"It's tough, this whole trip has been tough," Sixers guard Kevin Ollie said. "We should have came out with two legit games we could've won, Seattle and this game we could've won but it just didn't happen. We just have to keep fighting and keep believing in our coaching staff as they prepare us and we've got to do it. We've got to go over the scouting report and go out there and execute the game plan."
"When you lose a 30-point-a-game scorer, it's always going to be tough to score on a consistent basis," said Sixers guard John Salmons, who had 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. "I think that's the biggest thing. We've got to stay together and try to get stops at the end instead of relying on scoring."
The only reason the Sixers have not plummeted in the standings is because ninth-place Chicago (29-38) also has lost three in a row.
"Going down the stretch, it's disappointing when you don't play well, especially when you've got opportunities to win," Salmons said. "Just about every game we've played down the stretch, we just couldn't pull them out, so it's more disappointing than anything. The Bulls keep losing, so we're still in the playoffs. We've got 16 games left, got to stay with it, just can't quit and keep trying."
Sunday's game followed a familiar script as the Sixers ran their offense through Chris Webber, who had 21 points and nine rebounds. A basket by Salmons forged an 81-81 tie with 5:07 to go before things fell apart once again.
"I had some opportunities and did not take advantage of them," said Webber, who scored just five points in the second half. "I have to give their defense a lot of credit because every time I touched the ball and I spun either way, they had really good help defense on me in the second half."
A follow shot by Troy Murphy and driving layup by Mickael Pietrus gave Golden State the lead for good. Pietrus drained a 3-pointer between a free throw by Andre Iguodala and two from Webber, opening the advantage to 88-84 with 2:01 to go.
Dunleavy then delivered the dagger with a 3-pointer at the 1:45 mark. It was at least a two-possession game thereafter.
"Baron (guard Baron Davis) is out and we need people to step up," Dunleavy said. "There's more shots to be taken. There's going to be nights when I play like this and there's going to be nights when other guys are going to have to step up. The most important thing is that we win."
"He's been good and it helps to have another guy," Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said. "Mike has come to life the past two games. He's been really good. All of a sudden, it makes a whole lot of difference when you have a second guy that can put the numbers up. He's hit some timely baskets without a doubt."
Jason Richardson scored 23 points and Murphy added 12 and 16 rebounds for the Warriors, who shot 43.5 percent (37-of-85), had five players in double figures and held a 53-42 advantage on the glass.
"It's great to see (Dunleavy) go out there and perform, especially when guys are down and banged up," Richardson said. "He's stepping his game up to another level."
Golden State (28-37), which has not reached the postseason since 1994, is three games in the loss column behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the final playoff spot in the West. However, there also are three teams between them and the Lakers.
"All we have to do is keep playing and keep trying to win," Dunleavy said. "You can't worry about who else is out there, who we have to chase or creep up on. We just have to play and see what happens."
Iguodala had 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Philadelphia, which shot 41.5 percent (34-of-82) as it completed an 0-3 road trip.
"I'm glad this trip is over and hopefully the nightmare is over," Webber said. "We have to keep giving the effort we've been giving. Just because we get Allen back - who we need more than we know, more than anybody can say - just because we get him back and just because we play against Atlanta, it doesn't matter if we don't execute."
Iverson's teammates tried to pick up the slack. Steven Hunter scored 15 points on 7-of-7 shooting and Ollie had eight points, six assists and four steals. However, Salmons made just 5-of-18 shots and committed seven turnovers.
"I know John had seven turnovers but his effort was there," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "He is not used to playing as many minutes as he has been playing. This is a test for him to keep playing and this is a test for all of us to find a way to get ourselves out of this."
"Obviously when you have a guy like that who puts the ball in the hole and takes a lot of pressure of you on the offensive end, you're going to have to make it up in different ways and we're just trying to adjust without him and it's tough," Iguodala said.
Dunleavy's basket gave Golden State a 79-72 lead with 7:56 remaining before Kyle Korver sank a 3-pointer and jumper in a 7-0 burst that tied it.