McKie made a key steal and four free throws in the final 70 seconds as the 76ers held on for an 88-80 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Philadelphia had lost 10 of its previous 12 games and eight of nine on the road since defeating Washington here on November 30.
In their return to the MCI Center, the 76ers saw a comfortable lead disappear in the closing minutes before the injury-plagued McKie decided the game.
Philadelphia led the entire second half, but Michael Jordan had seven points and two assists during a 12-2 run that brought Washington within 82-80 with 85 seconds to go.
McKie was fouled on a jumper, made both free throws at the 1:10 mark and came up with the game’s biggest defensive play moments later.
Tyronn Lue overthrew a pass to Jordan in the post and McKie beat the future Hall of Famer to the ball. McKie was fouled by Jordan on a jumper with 34 seconds to go and buried both free throws for an 86-80 cushion.
“(Jordan) got me on the elbow twice, so I knocked down free throws that gave us a little cushion,” McKie said.
Washington missed four 3-pointers on its next possession and Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson, who scored just three of his 26 points in the final period, sank a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left to seal the victory.
“That was the best all-around game Keith has had for us,” Sixers coach Larry Brown said. “Eric played at such a high level, and we were fortunate that McKie made key free throws.”
Jordan had another excellent game in the absence of leading scorer Jerry Stackhouse, who has missed three games with a groin injury. He collected 25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals as Washington lost for just the third time in 10 games.
“We fought back, we got a great effort down the stretch to get ourselves back in the game, but we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Jordan said.
“You’ve got your hands full playing against a guy like Mike,” McKie said. “When he gets that ball in his hands, he’s excellent with it. So we were just trying to make him hit tough shots and not allow him to control the game. He got into a nice rhythm in the fourth quarter, but we still were making it hard for him.”
The Wizards also had to deal with the loss of starting guard Larry Hughes, who left early in the third quarter with the flu.
“We just have to suck it up,” Jordan said of the injuries. “You know you have to deal with some things. Hopefully, this is going to make us better when everybody is healthy.”
Rookie Juan Dixon saw more minutes in Hughes’ absence and scored a season-high 19 points in his second game back from a sprained elbow.
“My job is to come off the bench and provide energy for the team,” Dixon said. “I think I am capable of scoring, so if my opportunity is there to shoot the ball, I am going to take the shot and hopefully knock it down.”
The Wizards shot just 42 percent (32-of-77) from the floor, made only 11-of-20 free throws and committed 19 turnovers leading to 28 points for the 76ers.
The Sixers had a 47-43 lead after Jordan opened the second half with a jumper. But Philadelphia responded with a 15-6 run, highlighted by seven points from Snow.
Iverson scored five points during the spurt, capping it with a jumper for a 62-49 cushion with 5:03 remaining in the third quarter. Philadelphia had a 71-61 lead entering the fourth and Washington got no closer than nine until the final minutes.