Brown Goes to Strange Lengths

At one key point of the fourth quarter Sunday, Philadelphia Coach Larry Brown had a lineup of Eric Snow, Raja Bell, Kevin Ollie, Allen Iverson and Aaron McKie on the floor.

Not the type of lineup you envision for a team challenging for the NBA championship against the defending champion Lakers.

But that is Brown's style, and his players know that's the way he coaches. Twelve players on a roster, 12 players contributing.

"They know we can play and that we can do our thing when it's time," said Ollie, who scored on a three-point play to bring the 76ers within 89-88 with 1:02 remaining in the game.

"Even if you haven't played for the entire game, you have to be ready to go in and be aggressive. Larry Brown does a good job of that. He screams at us in practice like we are playing 48 minutes. That makes us feel good and prepared to go out there to do a good job."

Because of injuries, Brown has had to go with players he didn't think he would have to use against the Lakers.

"If you told me I would play Raja Bell and Todd MacCulloch and Jumaine Jones for the world championship, that might be in 2008 and I probably wouldn't have been there," Brown said.

"But this is the only way you can play the Lakers. . . . I said before the series . . . if Eric [Snow] and Aaron [McKie] and George Lynch are healthy, we would always have great ball defenders up the floor. I'm using some kids that are pretty good ball defenders, but because we're so short-handed, I got to play guys maybe a little too much. And it shows."

For the second game in a row, Iverson had his problems keeping his offensive game flowing for four quarters. It's the complex way Coach Phil Jackson and his coaching staff have decided to play the 76ers' high-scoring guard and right now, it seems to be working.

"They have a scheme that always depends on where he is at on the court," Snow said. "They know who is doubling and when to do it. They kind of double him when he is isolated. Sometimes they don't when he is not isolated. They play the pick-and-roll different, depending on the different guys they have in. They play it one way when Robert Horry is in there and another when it is just Shaq [O'Neal]. . . . They keep changing it up."

After three games, the 76ers now know how difficult it is to keep the Lakers' Kobe Bryant under wraps. McKie, Snow, Iverson and Bell have all had their moments trying to defend him and he's been a headache for each one of them.

"He's tough, and he's an all-star you can't really stop," Bell said. "You've just got to try and make his night tough. He got cooking early tonight and he started feeling it. Once you let somebody with that much talent start feeling it, it's hard to control him."

It was because of Bryant that Horry got to make a key three-point shot in the final minute. The 76ers decided to double-team him and hoped that another Laker would take the shot. Horry did and basically won the game for the Lakers.

"We double-teamed him and I was the double guy," Snow said of Horry's late three-point basket. "Without Shaq, I didn't want Kobe to beat us. I'm not sure if that was the right decision, but it was a decision that I made. I think we had a full rotation, but it was kind of hesitant."

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