Work in Sports
Iverson, Sixers hold Hornets in check
Posted: Saturday April 29, 2000 09:42 AM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Philadelphia 76ers did it with defense in Game 3, even though their best defender, Eric Snow, was out with a bad ankle.
Aaron McKie shut down Eddie Jones in the second half, Theo Ratliff blocked shots all night and George Lynch and Toni Kukoc held Anthony Mason without a field goal.
It was a total team effort on a night when the Sixers needed a lift from Allen Iverson's sidekicks. They all provided it in holding the Hornets to one field goal over the first 11 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter in an 81-76 victory Friday night.
"I think our defense was tremendous. Everybody was great," Philadelphia coach Larry Brown said. "We had no chance to win without our defense. Eric Snow is our most important player in my mind. What he does on both ends of the court is incredible."
The 76ers took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, with Game 4 set for Monday night in Philadelphia.
And if they are able to close out the series in that game, they can thank the four or five role players who all stepped up in this game.
"You know you're going to get defense from those guys, we knew that coming in," Jones said. "It's a matter of whether we're going to let them push us around. They did it all."
Iverson scored 24 points, McKie and Kukoc added 12 each and Ratliff had 10 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.
Jones had 18 for Charlotte, but none when the Hornets really needed him.
Guarded by McKie, his former college teammate at Temple, Jones missed his first seven shots of the second half before finally getting one with 1.5 seconds left. By then it was too late for Charlotte, which missed 12 of its first 13 shots in the fourth quarter.
"I was telling people Aaron was going to have a good game. People overlook him, but he's a great basketball player," Jones said. "I played four years with him, so I know how good he is. You think he's not going to do anything and he erupts."
Elden Campbell broke Charlotte's field goal drought on a bank shot with 16 seconds left that made it 76-74. The Hornets immediately fouled McKie, who made both free throws.
Tyrone Hill then rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Jones, and he and Kevin Ollie made three of four free throws the rest of the way to wrap it up.
The key stretch came six minutes earlier when Iverson, Ratliff and Kukoc all scored on driving layups as part of a 7-0 run that put Philadelphia in control 66-59. After Kukoc made his layup over Campbell, Iverson cupped his hand around his ear and pranced along the sideline, asking the crowd for more noise.
They responded, especially when McKie leaped high to block Jones' fast break layup a minute later to preserve a 66-61 lead.
"We shot 31 percent in the first half, and you can't do that. You're liable to get run out of the building -- and it's our building," Iverson said. "The crowd was really great like they usually are. It's really tough getting a basket when a team makes a run and the crowd is screaming like that."
Jones finally scored his first points of the second half on two foul shots with 4:52 left, then stole the ball from McKie and made one of two from the line to make it a two-point game.
Jones then came up with another steal, but David Wesley missed a jumper, and Kukoc calmly hit a 3-pointer over Derrick Coleman to make it 69-64.
Snow, who had the best game of anyone on the Sixers in Game 2, was bothered by a chip fracture in his right ankle and missed his first game of the season. McKie started in his place and Ollie, who had played only two minutes in the first two games, played 15 minutes as McKie's backup and had eight points and four assists.
Lynch went 0-for-6 from the field, but the Sixers could live with it because he helped hold Mason to an 0-for-7 night.
The Sixers missed 14 of their first 17 shots but trailed only 14-10 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter as Charlotte also had trouble scoring points. Jones picked up his second foul along with a technical with 1:44 left in the first, but he didn't pick up his third until the fourth quarter.
Baron Davis, showing Iverson-like quickness and leaping ability, hit his first five shots as the Hornets went ahead early in the second quarter before settling for a 40-38 halftime lead.
Charlotte led for all but 36 seconds of the third quarter, and it was tied 57-57 heading into the fourth. McKie made a driving layup two minutes into the fourth quarter, giving the Sixers their first lead since 24-22.
Notes: The Sixers drew their 11th sellout crowd of the season. ... The scoreboard wasn't working during the first quarter. Heading into the second quarter it read: Sixers 36, Celtics 18. ... Goaded by the hosts of a morning sports talk radio show, Sixers fans sent 21 dozen doughnuts to Coleman's hotel room Friday morning. He was booed every time he touched the ball. ... Sixers 12th man Ira Bowman didn't hear Brown call his name to check in for the final 10 seconds of the third quarter, and the coach ran to Bowman's seat, grabbed him and sent him in.