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Raptors 101, Sixers 89
Seven, The Hard Way

TORONTO, May 18 (AP) -- The Toronto Raptors weren't going to let Allen Iverson put an end to their season.

Employing a double-teaming defense that took Iverson totally out of his rhythm, Toronto got 39 points from Vince Carter and dominated the fourth quarter to beat Philadelphia 101-89 Friday night and force a seventh game in their Eastern Conference semifinal.

The Raptors, winning for the third time this season when facing elimination, looked nothing like they did two nights earlier in Philadelphia when they lost by 33 and allowed Iverson to score 52.
Jerome Williams bangs the boards in the Toronto win.
Jennifer Pottheiser, NBAE Photos TV highlights: 28.8+ | ISDN+

Sending the series back to Philadelphia for the deciding game Sunday, the Raptors played with composure, were the more physical team and benefited from a series of adjustments made by Hall of Fame coach Lenny Wilkens -- the most important of which was sending two defenders at Iverson as soon as he touched the ball.

"That's how we have to do it. We understood that no one man in this league can guard him one-on-one," Carter said. "That's the respect he's earned, and we knew if he scored 52 again we might have lost this game."

Iverson missed 10 of his first 12 shots and finished just 6-for-24 from the field for 20 points. He began the night averaging 39.0 points in the series.

Rookie Morris Peterson, making his first start since Game 1 of the first round, scored 17 points. Antonio Davis added 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Alvin Williams had 15 for the Raptors, who turned it into a blowout with a late 11-0 run in which Carter scored nine points.

Peterson, who scored a total of 20 points in the Raptors' first 10 playoff games, hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter to give Toronto an eight-point lead after the Sixers had cut a 19-point deficit to two.

"Those two 3s were about as important as any two shots in this series," 76ers coach Larry Brown said.
Morris Peterson steals the ball and takes it all the way to the rim for the monster flush:
988k avi | QuickTime

Carter drove through traffic for a layup that gave the Raptors an 11-point lead with 7:59 left as Iverson was missing his first four shots of the fourth quarter, and Carter followed with a drive, a 23-footer, a 24-footer and a bank shot in the 11-0 run.

"We made a tremendous comeback, and unfortunately we wasted it," Brown said. "When we cut it to two, they responded."

Iverson had only six points at halftime after missing two layups and shooting an airball as the Sixers were falling behind by as many as 19. He came back with 12 in the third quarter but had just two in the fourth.

"They did a good job of doubling me and getting the ball out of my hands, but we didn't play defense well and that's the reason we lost," Iverson said.

Wilkens made several adjustments aside from immediately double-teaming Iverson. He moved Peterson into the starting lineup in place of Chris Childs and had Carter apply fullcourt pressure when Aaron McKie or Eric Snow brought the ball upcourt -- forcing Philadelphia to run several seconds off the shot clock before running its offense.

The move to Peterson paid immediate dividends as he scored seven points in the first quarter, including a windmill dunk over Jumaine Jones followed by a 3-pointer for an 18-7 lead.

Jerome Williams pressured the 76ers into throwing away a routine inbounds pass early in the second quarter, sparking the Raptors to a 15-6 run that ended with a runner by Alvin Williams for a 48-31 lead.

Davis hit a pair of foul shots to make it 52-33 with 1:35 left in the quarter, and Iverson went into the locker room at halftime with just six points on 2-for-11 shooting.

Philadelphia used a 22-10 run to pull within three, 69-66, late in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Rodney Buford, and Iverson made it a two-point game heading into the fourth quarter on an 18-footer with 25 seconds left.

But the Sixers didn't have much left after that, and now they're facing the type of winner-take-all game they had hoped to avoid.

"I don't know how much motivation we need," Iverson said. "If we lose Sunday, it's summer vacation -- and I'm not ready to go home yet."

Notes: Snow, already slowed by bad ankle, jammed his foot late in the game and is questionable for Game 7. ... Carter is scheduled to graduate from the University of North Carolina on Sunday morning and would like to find a way to make it to Chapel Hill and then fly to Philadelphia for Game 7. ... Oakley posted up Iverson during the first quarter and received the ball with a clear path to the basket. Inexplicably, he fired a wild pass that flew six feet over Wilkens' head. Oakley was called for a flagrant foul for knocking Mutombo to the floor in the third quarter, and Alvin Williams drew one moments later for a hard foul on Tyrone Hill.

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