Work in Sports
Man on a mission
Coleman ignites Hornets offense, leads overtime victory
Posted: Tuesday April 25, 2000 11:49 AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- It's been a long time since anyone has seen this version of Derrick Coleman.
Coleman, back in the playoffs after a five-year absence, scored eight of his 29 points in overtime, leading the Charlotte Hornets to a 108-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers to tie their playoff series Monday night.
The surly nine-year veteran, who has a reputation as a selfish malcontent, went through the Hornets' locker room after the game congratulating every player.
"It's playoff basketball, man. You can't help but be pumped," said Coleman.
Coleman was unstoppable in the extra period, hitting four straight baskets and helping the Hornets take the series to Philadelphia -- where he spent almost three years before signing with Charlotte -- for Game 3 on Friday night.
"D.C. just took over and brought us home," said Charlotte coach Paul Silas. "He was just great during that stretch. He wanted the ball and he knew he was going to make it. They talk about cream rising to the top and that's exactly what happened."
Allen Iverson, who scored a career playoff high 40 points in Game 1, tied his career playoff low with 13 points. It was the first time in Iverson's 10 playoff games he failed to lead the 76ers in scoring.
"People always want to know did a guy do anything differently when I have a bad shooting night," Iverson said. "I just missed shots. I missed layups. I missed wide-open shots. I don't feel like anybody can stop me but myself. Tonight, I did a pretty good job of doing that."
Charlotte went back to the basics in overtime, using its huge front line of Coleman, Anthony Mason and Elden Campbell to dominate the 76ers. The Hornets hit their first six shots and eight of nine in the extra period.
Mason opened the OT with a bruising layup that gave the Hornets a 93-91 lead. Coleman then took over, scoring six straight points on a layup and two 15-foot jumpers for a 99-95 lead with 2:47 to play.
Coleman then took away a rebound at the other end from Tyrone Hill and Charlotte capitalized when Eddie Jones hit a 3. Coleman added a turnaround jumper and Mason and Campbell dunked to even the series 1-1.
Campbell finished with 20 points, Jones had 19 and Mason scored 14.
"It's silly to do anything else but go inside," said Campbell, who was nearly invisible in Game 1, when he went 1-for-4 from the floor with four rebounds and four turnovers in 25 minutes.
"If we keep doing that, we can just roll that horse and seal up the wins," he said.
Iverson was held in check the entire night by Jones, who unlike in Game 1 stayed out of foul trouble and in Iverson's face.
Iverson was horribly off early, missing badly on a 3-point attempt and bricking a layup in the first half. He had just seven points at the break on 2-for-8 shooting.
He wasn't any better in the second half, either.
His first shot of the third quarter didn't even hit the rim, and as he struggled to get anything off on Jones -- who has a six-inch height advantage on Iverson -- he ended up passing the ball more than shooting it.
What shots Iverson did take either rattled off the rim or grazed the glass and bounced into Charlotte's hands. He missed a 3-point attempt with under a minute to play in overtime and shot just 5-for-21 for the game.
"The only difference was I wasn't in foul trouble," said Jones. "I had the same game plan -- keep him on the court, stay on him and contest his shots."
But the rest of the Sixers picked up the slack for Iverson and had an 89-84 lead with four minutes to play.
But David Wesley hit a 3 and the Hornets tied it at 89 when Mason dunked with one second left on the shot clock and 1:01 to play in regulation. The Hornets then took a 91-89 lead, their first since early in the fourth quarter, on Campbell's tip-in with 26 seconds to play.
The 76ers tied it on Eric Snow's jumper with 12 seconds to go. Jones missed an 18-foot fadeaway jumper over Aaron McKie, who was in on defense in place of Iverson, as time expired in regulation.
Toni Kukoc led Philadelphia with 20 points, Snow scored 19 and Hill had 10.
"I've got to build ourselves back up, because we came in here and we won one out of two and gave ourselves a chance to win both," said Philadelphia coach Larry Brown. "I don't want these guys down. It seemed to me they were."
Notes: The win snapped a four-game playoff losing streak for the Hornets. Charlotte lost Game 1 of this series, and three in a row to Chicago in 1998. ... The fouls went against Philadelphia early: the 76ers were whistled four times in a 16-second span in the first quarter. The Hornets felt the calls went against them in Game 1. ... Mason moved past Vlade Divac for second place on Charlotte's list in career playoff rebounds with 126. He needs 16 more to pass Alonzo Mourning's mark of 142.