Thursday, March 02, 2006

Iverson was the answer in Sixers win over Rockets

It was a really good game for him. Allen Iverson scored 40 points on 16-of-29 shooting, pulled down seven rebounds and dished out 10 assists to lead Philadelphia to a 106-101 win over Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.

"It was a team effort," Iverson assured "Our bench did a great job and everyone stepped up their game. We got to make our shots and that was key."

In fact, Chris Webber added 21 points and 13 boards for the Sixers, who won for the fourth time in their last five outings. Kyle Korver chipped in with 14 off the bench while John Salmons had 10.

"We stuck together and played together as a team," said Webber. "When we do that we are very good."

In the other hand, Tracy McGrady recorded 25 for the Rockets, who lost their second straight game. Yao Ming contributed 22 points and pulled down 13 boards while Rafer Alston had 15 points and Juwan Howard added 12.

"They kind of disrupted our offense and took us out of our sets," said McGrady. "We were scrambling a little bit trying to get shots."

It's important to know that Houston came into the final stanza owning a four-point edge but the Sixers quickly forged ahead.

Salmons followed an Iverson miss to cap a 13-7 Philadelphia run to start the quarter and put the Sixers back on top, 86-84, with just under nine minutes left.

The two squads then traded baskets over the next four minutes and found themselves deadlocked at 96 after Chuck Hayes pulled down an offensive rebound and converted with a little over five minutes left on the clock.

Yao drained two from the charity stripe to put Houston back on top, but Iverson answered with two of his own to make it 98-98 with the clock showing 3:12.

After Howard missed a turnaround jumper from the baseline, the diminutive Iverson took over the game during a 6-0 Sixers run.

First, the All-Star guard rose up for a mid-range jumper and was fouled. Iverson again made both from the line. Then, after an Iguodala steal,Iverson drained a 16-foot jumper. The Sixers' star finished the flurry by finding Webber for a running jumper to give the Sixers a 104-98 lead with 1:38 left.

Five seconds later, McGrady cut the lead in half with a long triple. Houston had a chance to tie but missed two long three-point attempts during its next two possessions.

Iverson then sealed the game with another bucket.

"This was a heck of a win," said Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks. "Everyone fought hard for us all game. In fact, this match was a prime example of a team effort to not lose a game."

As we know, The Sixers held a slim 22-21 advantage after the first 12 minutes and extended that edge by a point, 47-45, at intermission. Iverson paced the Sixers with 19 points at the break while Yao led Houston with 12.

In the end, the Rockets bounced back with a solid third quarter and took a 77-73 lead into the final quarter.