Iverson goes for 54 as Sixers even series 1-1
Updated: Thursday May 10, 2001 4:58 AM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Allen Iverson didn't need any help this time.
Iverson scored 19 of his career playoff-high 54 points in the fourth quarter as the Philadelphia 76ers evened their second-round series at 1-1 with a 97-92 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals is Friday night in Toronto.
"I always feel the only person who can stop me is myself," Iverson said. "The only thing I care about is getting a win. If I shoot terrible and we win, that's all that matters."
Iverson, who had 36 points on 11-of-34 shooting in the opener, scored 19 of Philadelphia's final 20 points.
With the Sixers leading 89-86, Iverson hit a running jumper, got fouled and completed the three-point play, giving the Sixers a 92-86 lead with 1:16 left.
After Charles Oakley nailed a 3-pointer, Iverson drilled an 18-footer to make it 94-89. Following a miss by the Raptors, Iverson got fouled, cupped his ear, implored the crowd to make more noise and screamed toward the sky. He made both free throws before George Lynch scored the Sixers' last point on a free throw.
Philadelphia made 25-of-26 free throws -- Lynch missed with 14 seconds remaining.
"They've been pumping him up as the next superstar in the league, like he's the next guy to carry the torch," Aaron McKie said of Iverson. "Well, he's getting it and running with it."
Iverson had 20 points in the second quarter, made just one of his first eight shots in the third and finished 21-of-39, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range.
"In the third quarter, he got a little hyper, but in the fourth he was phenomenal," Sixers coach Larry Brown said.
Iverson gave the Sixers breathing room by hitting a short bank shot then making two free throws for an 89-84 lead with 3:49 left as the sellout crowd of 20,870 at the First Union Center chanted, "MVP, MVP."
"I told a couple guys I wouldn't play like I played last game, because I didn't play smart," Iverson said. "I didn't know if I'd make the shots, but I knew I'd play smarter."
The first quarter looked a lot like the first three quarters of Game 1 for the 76ers -- a 96-93 loss. Toronto went on a 10-0 run midway through the first and led 31-21 after one.
Carter had 10 points in the first quarter and the Sixers couldn't find an answer until "The Answer" went on a tear.
Iverson was 8-of-11 in the second as he brought the Sixers back from a 14-point deficit. He scored 20 of Philadelphia's 28 points in the quarter, including 17 of the last 21.
"He was doing it all, in transition, hitting [jump] shots; we didn't defend as a team," Carter said.
After the Raptors took their biggest lead, 35-21, on a 15-footer by Oakley that capped another 10-0 run, the Sixers scored 11 in a row.
Iverson gave Philadelphia its first lead, 47-46, on a jumper with 56.3 seconds left in the second. Eric Snow scored 10 points and was the only other player on the Sixers to reach double figures.
"It's always important not to point fingers," Iverson said. "It's not about this guy didn't do this, and this guy didn't do that. It's a team effort."
The Sixers gave away the home-court advantage by losing Game 1 as Iverson struggled and the rest of the team followed along. Philadelphia got just 28 points from its frontcourt in the opener.
The starting frontcourt scored just 20 points Wednesday night, but the Sixers outscored Toronto in the paint, 34-16.
"We felt we were able to win this game, and we gave it away," Carter said.
Notes: Iverson's 54 points was a team playoff record, surpassing
the 50 points scored by Billy Cunningham against Milwaukee in 1970.
... The 76ers have not won a best-of-seven series since 1984-85,
going 0-6 since then. ... Carter made an acrobatic, twisting layup
on an alley-oop pass from Williams in the first. ... Iverson got a
technical foul in the first quarter for arguing a charge. ...
Raptors guard Chris Childs got a technical early in the third after
Toronto had grabbed a rebound. ... The teams combined to shoot
17-of-43 in the third. ... The Sixers are 13-5 when Iverson scores
more than 40 points this season, including the playoffs. ... Dell
Curry, who scored 20 points in Game 1, missed his first four shots
before hitting two 3-pointers in the second half. He finished with