New Orleans (26-19) at Philadelphia (19-27)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Fri Jan 30, 2004
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New Orleans Hornets have benefitted from the return of Jamal Mashburn and Baron Davis.

The Philadelphia 76ers hope Allen Iverson can bring some help to them.

Philadelphia may have Iverson back on the court when it tries to avoid a season-high fifth straight loss in a matchup with New Orleans.

Iverson had an MRI taken Monday that showed the star guard had a sprained index finger. Iverson, the NBA’s leading scorer at 27.2 points per game, said he would miss at least two games.

He sat out Philadelphia’s 94-76 loss to the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday, and its 94-84 defeat to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

Sixers coach Randy Ayers said Iverson would test the finger in practice on Thursday.

“We’re going to try and put a little more padding on it and see what he can do,” Ayers said. “He told me (Monday) as he shot around he was hurting when he even caught the ball.”

The Sixers have lost a season high-tying four straight and seven of eight to fall into a tie with the Miami Heat for ninth place in the Eastern Conference. A loss Friday would saddle the team with its longest losing streak since a six-game slide from Jan. 2-12 of last season.

Philadelphia is also without Derrick Coleman and Marc Jackson, both on the injured list with broken fingers.

”(Injuries) are always a key factor but in our situation, you play with what you’ve got and you can’t worry about guys not here,” Sixers guard Aaron McKie said.

New Orleans has been riddled with injuries all season, but on Wednesday, Mashburn and Davis returned to lead the Hornets to a 101-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Mashburn had missed all 44 games this season after hurting his right knee early in training camp, but he shook off the rust to score New Orleans’ final 13 points.

After a slow start, Mashburn went 8-for-10 in the second half—making the eventual game-winner on a 15-foot turnaround with 12 seconds left—and finished with a team-high 24 points.

Davis, back after missing three games with a sprained left ankle, scored 23 points, including four 3-pointers, as New Orleans won its third straight.

“We are getting there,” Davis said. “With our whole team back, we get so much from everybody. We’ll get so much positive production if we can continue to do that game in and game out. We’ll do well going into the All-Star break.”

STANDINGS (through Jan. 28): Hornets - 3rd place, 7 GB, Central Division. 76ers - 4th place (tied), 5 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Hornets - F P.J. Brown, F George Lynch, C Jamaal Magloire, G Davis, G Darrell Armstrong. 76ers - F Kenny Thomas, F Glenn Robinson, C Samuel Dalembert, G Iverson or McKie, G Eric Snow.

TEAM LEADERS: Hornets - Davis, 23.4 ppg and 8.0 apg; Magloire, 9.2 rpg. 76ers - Iverson, 27.2 ppg; Thomas, 9.3 rpg; Snow, 7.3 apg.

SEASON SERIES: 1-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 21; 76ers, 92-86. At New Orleans, Robinson scored 23 points and Iverson had 22 as the Sixers came back from a nine-point deficit in the third quarter.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Hornets - 12-11 on the road; 76ers - 10-12 at home.

INJURIES: Hornets - G David Wesley (toe); G Courtney Alexander (Achilles’); G Bryce Drew (back). 76ers - G Iverson (finger); F-C Coleman (finger); C Todd MacCulloch (foot); C Jackson (finger).

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Team Stat Leaders

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