The Philadelphia 76ers didn’t need a heroic effort from Allen Iverson to regain command of their playoff series with the New Orleans Hornets.
Iverson’s 22 points on nine-for-28 shooting Monday night were his lowest total in the series. But five other 76ers scored in double figures in a 96-87 victory at New Orleans that gave Philadelphia a 3-1 series lead, with Game 5 in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
“As bad as I was struggling out there, it makes me feel good to win a game like this,” Iverson said. “That I can play so badly and my teammates play so well, it gives me confidence that I know when I’m struggling we’ve still got a shot to win.”
The balanced scoring and rebounding effort by the 76ers spoiled a 34-point performance by Baron Davis, who overcame an ailing left knee for a second consecutive game.
Davis, visibly disgusted after the game, didn’t single out anyone, but seemed most frustrated with the Hornets’ inside players losing the rebounding advantage they established in a Game 3 victory.
“We got outhustled. We got outmuscled. We didn’t come to play,” he said.
Philadelphia redeemed itself on the boards. Although Kenny Thomas’ eight rebounds were a team high, the 76ers outrebounded the Hornets, 43-38, two nights after being embarrassed, 51-33. The 76ers also improved their offensive rebounds from six to 17.
“We didn’t do much different than we did in Game 3, but we rebounded better,” 76ers Coach Larry Brown said. “We didn’t match their intensity in Game 3, but tonight we matched their effort. We made so many hustle plays late in the game. There were so many guys that I think as a coach you can say they made big-time plays to help us win.”
Eric Snow had 17 points and 12 assists for Philadelphia, and Keith Van Horn scored 13 points for the 76res.
Aaron McKie’s final points, a three-point basket with 2:45 left, sealed the victory, giving Philadelphia a 94-82 lead.
New Orleans trailed, 81-80, after David Wesley followed P.J. Brown’s jumper with a three-point basket.
But the 76ers came back with a 6-0 run on a jumper by Snow, a dunk by Derrick Coleman and a long jump shot by Iverson as he fell backward.
Sacramento 99, Utah 82 -- If it was goodbye for Utah’s John Stockton and Karl Malone, the Kings made sure it wasn’t a happy one.
Peja Stojakovic scored 15 of his 27 points in the third quarter as the Kings turned a four-point halftime deficit into an easy victory over the Jazz at Salt Lake City. That gives Sacramento a 3-1 lead in the opening-round series.
Chris Webber had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who may be the last team to beat Stockton and Malone in Salt Lake City if the 41-year-old Stockton retires and Malone leaves as a free agent.
Malone led the Jazz with 24 points. Stockton had 12 points and seven assists and Greg Ostertag had 14 rebounds for Utah, which has been knocked out of the playoffs in the first round the last two seasons.
Sacramento made only 17 of 50 shots in the first half and trailed, 41-37, despite causing 14 turnovers.