2001 NBA Finals
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Making a name

Sixers' Jones steps up again in Game 7

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Posted: Sunday May 20, 2001 11:40 PM
  Jumaine Jones Jumaine Jones has proved to be a capable backup to the injured George Lynch. M. David Leeds/Allsport

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Jumaine Jones took a pass from Allen Iverson, drove the baseline and threw down a thunderous slam.

The second-year forward, used sparingly in the regular season, made his presence felt in a big way in the Philadelphia 76ers' series-clinching 88-87 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

Jones, starting his third straight game because of an injury to George Lynch, scored a career playoff-high 16 points, helping the Sixers advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in 16 years.

"I've never been in a big game like that," Jones said. "It was really a tough game, right down to the wire. I didn't have any butterflies. I just wanted to play as hard as I could."

Jones, who averaged 4.7 points this season, has been forced to play more in the playoffs because of injuries to Lynch and backup center Matt Geiger.

For the most part, he's responded. Each time the Sixers needed a key basket Sunday, Jones -- or Aaron McKie -- delivered.

"The kid has worked hard every single day, and we asked him to step up in a very difficult situation," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "With Tyrone [Hill] getting in foul trouble, Jumaine's contribution was incredible. Young kids build on situations like this. I think this will be a big step to help him in his career. But he's got Glenn Robinson coming up, so it'll be interesting."

Jones will match up against Robinson when the Sixers open the conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. He's already thinking about it.

"It was an ugly game," Jones said. "My heart is still beating fast. It's a great feeling, but we have to put this game behind us and get ready for the next series."

Jones, who sparked the Sixers early in Game 5, had eight points on 4-for-5 shooting in the second quarter Sunday. He hit a jumper and made a layup after the Raptors cut the deficit to two points on two occasions in the second.

After missing two free throws, Jones made a pair to give Philadelphia a 79-76 lead midway through the fourth. He finished 6-of-9 from the field and 4-of-8 at the foul line.

"We wanted to come out, and we knew we needed everyone to step up," Jones said. "Everyone stepped up and played well. That's what we're going to need for the next round."

The Sixers won despite getting only 21 points from Iverson, who had 16 assists. McKie had 22.


 
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