Work in Sports
Banged-up Iverson looks to Philly teammates for help
Posted: Tuesday May 02, 2000 03:18 PM
PHIILADELPHIA (AP) -- Aaron McKie shrugged off what might have been the best game of his career. His teammates and coaches won't let him forget it anytime soon.
McKie, starting in place of the injured Eric Snow, hit four consecutive 3-pointers and scored 13 straight points midway through the fourth quarter as the Philadelphia 76ers beat Charlotte 105-99 Monday night to win their first-round series 3-1.
"They were giving me looks throughout the game, and I had it in my mind that I was going to take the shots if they were there," McKie said. "I just got in a groove. I just wanted my team to win."
Philadelphia plays the winner of the Milwaukee-Indiana series in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Game 1 is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
McKie had career playoff highs with 25 points and 11 assists. The four 3-pointers tied McKie's career high in any game. Allen Iverson, playing with a chip fracture in his right ankle and an inflamed right elbow, scored 26. Substitute Matt Geiger scored 17 and grabbed 10 rebounds.
"That was a phenomenal shooting display," Geiger said of McKie's performance.
After Charlotte took its biggest lead, 85-77 in the first minute of the fourth period, McKie took over. He nailed consecutive 3-pointers from the wing to cut it to 85-83.
Elden Campbell's jumper made it 87-83, but McKie tied the game by hitting another 3 and making a free throw to complete a four-point play. After Campbell sank a pair of free throws, McKie gave the Sixers the lead for good, 90-89, with a 3-pointer from near the top of the circle.
Iverson set up the shot by holding the ball at the top of the circle, faking a drive and waiting for McKie to come open.
"It's nice to see Allen, one of the best scorers in the league, sit there and wait for Aaron to come off a screen," Geiger said.
Then it was Iverson's turn to score. He had seven straight points on a driving layup, a 3-pointer and a baseline jumper to give the 76ers a 101-95 lead with 3:09 left.
After the jumper, Iverson cupped his ear and circled the floor, encouraging the raucous sellout crowd of 20,712 to make more noise.
"There are teams with more talent, but nobody has more heart," Iverson said.
Charlotte did not get closer than four points the rest of the game.
Anthony Mason and Derrick Coleman each scored 21 points to lead Charlotte.
Snow missed his second straight game with a chip fracture in his right ankle that is considered more severe than Iverson's injury. The 76ers struggled without their floor leader in Game 3, but McKie made sure the offense stayed in rhythm Monday.
McKie shot 9-of-15, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. He did not commit a turnover in 36 minutes as the Sixers committed just eight turnovers.
"He was just out-of-sight tonight," Charlotte coach Paul Silas said. "He stepped up to the plate and brought it home."
But McKie wouldn't acknowledge this was his best game.
"I don't judge my play on how many shots I make," he said. "I like to do all the little things and keep my teammates involved. That helps the other guys, and I love to do that every night."
Reserve point guard Kevin Ollie was one of the guys McKie helped. Ollie, who played two minutes in the first two games, played 16 minutes and had six points and four assists.
McKie, who held Eddie Jones to 18 points in Game 3, limited him to 17 on Monday. He held Jones to just three shots in the first half.
"I've always thought Aaron is a very underrated player," 76ers coach Larry Brown said. "He's a real pro, so I'm not surprised. I think I'd be a coach for a long, long time if they were all like him."
Iverson, who injured his ankle in Game 3, was questionable, though he insisted he would play. He aggravated his injured elbow on a driving layup at the end of the second quarter that gave the Sixers a 54-50 halftime lead.
Iverson grimaced and jumped up and down while holding his elbow as he walked off the court. He wore extra padding on it in the second half.
"I play every game like it's my last," said Iverson, who finished 10-of-23 and had seven assists.
"I think he's a throwback to the old days when guys played hurt," Silas said. "Other guys on the team see that, and it uplifts them. He didn't look any different to me. He looked like the same Allen Iverson. I couldn't tell the difference."
Charlotte tied the game at 62 after a 10-2 run midway through the third. The Hornets scored six straight points on dunks, including two by Coleman and one by Jones.
Charlotte scored 11 of its last 15 points in the third quarter on free throws to take a 79-75 lead. The Hornets hit 20 of their first 22 foul shots and finished 23-of-28 at the line.
"Everyone has to shoulder the blame so we can move on," Mason said. "We all have to go out and get better next year."
Notes: Coleman, a former 76er who was booed unmercifully,
missed a pair of free throws late in the game that would have cut
Charlotte's deficit to 99-97. ... Former Sixers assistant coach
John Calipari sat courtside. Calipari left the team in March to
accept the head coaching position at Memphis. ... The Sixers had
their 12th sellout of the season. After the game, the team sold
1,200 tickets in 30 minutes for each of the first two games for the
Eastern Conference semifinals. ... Geiger, booed throughout the
season, was cheered loudly when he entered the game in the third
quarter. He had 11 points and six rebounds in the second quarter.