Dejected Iverson smothered in Game 4 loss
Updated: Thursday June 14, 2001 1:27 AM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Allen Iverson nailed a 3-pointer to cut into a 17-point deficit, picked up a miniature ball thrown on the court by a fan and heaved it deep into the seats.
It was his best pass of the night.
Iverson, continually frustrated by smothering defense from Derek Fisher and Tyronn Lue, scored 35 points on 12-of-30 shooting and the Philadelphia 76ers lost 100-86 to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.
Iverson missed 15 of 21 shots in the first three quarters before scoring 16 in the fourth when the game was out of reach.
"It's been a long, tough year," Iverson said. "I'm 165 pounds, I've been beat up all year and I just thank God I'm able to play in a Game 4 with all the beatings I've taken all year, and I'm still taking them."
The Lakers have a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
On the rare occasion when Iverson had an open look Wednesday, he still couldn't get a shot to fall through -- until the fourth.
"We still don't get no respect out there, because a lot of people feel like we aren't supposed to be here," Iverson said. "It's hard enough playing against a team like that. Then when you don't get the respect, it makes it even harder. Makes it damn near impossible."
While O'Neal had 34 points and 14 rebounds and Kobe Bryant nearly registered a triple-double, it was the defense of Fisher and Lue that made the biggest impact.
Iverson ran all around the floor, desperately trying to find open space. He found Fisher or Lue in his face most of the time. If he saw a clear path to the basket, O'Neal was there to at least alter his shot or force a pass.
Iverson was so irritated that he picked up a technical foul in the third quarter for arguing a non-foul call.
"For anybody that has ever played this game, when you have small guys, big guys leaning on you, always chasing you, always putting a body on you, it gets frustrating," Fisher said. "His team was down tonight and that was probably most frustrating of all."
Iverson finally got going in the fourth quarter, scoring six straight points as the Sixers cut a 22-point third-quarter deficit to seven midway through the fourth.
But Los Angeles ran off eight straight points and Iverson missed a 3-pointer and a runner during the spurt.
Since scoring 48 points during an overtime victory in Game 1, Iverson has shot 34-of-89, including 5-of-20 from 3-point range. He's also missed 11 of 31 free throws since making all nine in the opener.
Lue has given Iverson the most trouble. The speedy 6-footer got his chance in the third quarter of Game 1, and made the most of it. He played the final 22 1/2 minutes and put the clamps on Iverson until overtime in that game.
"He scored 35, didn't he?" Lue said. "We can't shut him down. We just try to limit his touches."
Sixers coach Larry Brown said Iverson looked a bit fatigued. Iverson said he's not ready for summer vacation just yet.
"I'm looking forward to getting married this summer, but I can wait for it to come," he said. "Believe me."