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Updated: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 11:28 PM EST
NBA RECAP
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Philadelphia 108, New Jersey 107
NEW JERSEY NETS
New Jersey Nets
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PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
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PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Keith Van Horn finally showed some force and the Philadelphia 76ers finally got a break.

Van Horn scored eight of his 16 points down the stretch, including the go-ahead free throws with 49 seconds left, and the 76ers snapped a season-high six-game losing streak with a 108-107 victory over the New Jersey Nets.

"It just feels good to finally get one," 76ers superstar Allen Iverson said. "After six losses in a row and nothing going our way, we finally got a break."

Acquired from New Jersey as part of the Dikembe Mutombo trade last August, Van Horn was facing his former team for the first time. Despite helping the Nets reach the NBA Finals last season, he was criticized for passive play, most notably by forward Kenyon Martin.

As Philadelphia's losing streak grew, grumbling began here about Van Horn's lack of aggression. But with the Sixers looking at another excruciating loss, the five-year veteran had one of his best stretches of the season.

"Anytime you get traded and you're going up against the team that traded you, when you get a win it feels great," said Van Horn, who was limited to 23 minutes by foul trouble.

"The good part about Keith is that I think he didn't care about being able to play against New Jersey," Iverson said. "He didn't look at it that way."

A dunk by Van Horn at the 5:05 mark gave the Sixers a 94-91 lead. He drew a foul from Martin and made two free throws on the next possession, then dunked again for a 98-95 lead with 3:23 remaining.

The Nets fought back and tied it at 101-101 on a long jumper by Jason Kidd with 1:09 to play. Van Horn took a pass from a penetrating Eric Snow and was fouled inside, making both free throws to give Philadelphia the lead for good.

Martin had a chance to tie it but missed the second of two free throws. The Nets got the rebound, but Lucious Harris missed a jumper with 11 seconds to go.

Iverson was fouled but missed the second of two free throws. Just when it looked like the Sixers were setting themselves up for another narrow loss on a winless homestand, Martin and Richard Jefferson combined to fumble the rebound out of bounds.

"(Derrick Coleman) was in the lane early but you still got to get the ball, so that's irrelevant," Martin said.

"That play was not necessarily a break," maintained Van Horn. "It was the fact that Derrick Coleman hustled to get his hand on the ball. It was a hustle play that made the break. It wasn't handed to us."

Given a reprieve, Iverson made 4-of-4 free throws in the waning seconds. He scored 34 points as Philadelphia won at home for the first time since December 20 vs. the Los Angeles Lakers. It had lost the first four games of its homestand by two points or less or in overtime.

"This is what we wanted. We wanted a tight game," Iverson said. "We didn't want a blowout win or anything like that. I don't think that would have helped us mentally. I don't think that would have helped us as a team, as a group, with our confidence."

"I think the way we got it made it special," Snow said. "It was a grind and a nail-biter, but in the end we were still able to pull it off."

Snow also scored 16 points and handed out eight assists for the Sixers, who had five players in double figures as it won for the first time in 2003.

"I think these guys are trying and I know they care," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "I just don't think we have a lot of confidence."

Former Sixer Harris scored 26 points and Martin added 24 and 16 rebounds for the Nets, who were gunning for a franchise-record sixth straight road win. They had won 12 of their last 13 games overall.

"How dumb was I trading Lucious Harris?" Brown said.

"The record has nothing to do with it," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "We just want to try to continue to win games, road and at home."

Kidd handed out a season-high 16 assists but scored just nine points - 11 below his average - on 4-of-21 shooting.

Snow's fast-break layup capped a 6-0 burst that opened the final period and gave the Sixers an 86-74 lead. His two free throws made it 92-81 with 8:21 left before the Nets ran off 10 straight points, pulling within a point on Jefferson's two free throws with 5:25 to go.

Martin got the better of Van Horn in the early going, overpowering him in the post as the Nets took a 24-20 lead after one period.

But the Sixers stormed back in the second quarter. They got the Nets into the penalty midway through the period and put together a 15-2 surge that began with seven free throws. Aaron McKie sank a jumper and 3-pointer, and a 3-pointer by Derrick Coleman made it 51-38 with 2:07 left.

"Anytime you're on a losing streak, I think you're desperate," Kidd said. "They came out and played like a team that wasn't on a losing streak, so you have to give them credit."

New Jersey scored six straight points before Iverson sank a 3-pointer for a 54-44 lead at halftime. He also closed the third quarter with a jumper, keeping the bulge at 80-74.

McKie scored 12 points and Coleman added 10 for the Sixers, who shot 48 percent (37-of-77) but were manhandled on the boards. They were outrebounded, 50-35, including 25-12 on the offensive end.

"That's not something I feel good about, the offensive rebounds, but we overcame it and won," Brown said.

Jefferson had 20 points and nine boards and Kerry Kittles scored 14 points for the Nets, who scored 54 paint points and 25 second-chance points. They shot 45 percent (41-of-91).


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