76ers 91, Pistons 74

Preview | Box Score | Recap

PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Allen Iverson’s knee is doing just fine.

Iverson, playing despite left knee bursitis, had 37 points and eight assists, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 91-74 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.

“It’s not getting any better, but it’s not getting any worse,” Iverson said. “I’m feeling the same. It keeps getting bigger. They talked about draining it today, but I didn’t let it happen.”

Kenny Thomas added 16 points and 15 rebounds for Philadelphia, which snapped a two-game losing skid and moved within two games of Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Clifford Robinson had 16 points and Richard Hamilton added 14 for Detroit, which lost its fourth straight game.

The Central Division-leading Pistons entered the night 1 1/2 games ahead of Indiana. They trail the Nets by one game.

“They did a great job penetrating the defense,” Robinson said. “We couldn’t keep Iverson in front of us and that hurt.”

Philadelphia broke open a one-point game with a 9-0 run in the second quarter. Iverson had two driving layups during the spurt and capped it with a crisp bounce pass to Aaron McKie for an easy layup that gave the Sixers a 41-31 lead.

A 3-pointer by Eric Snow right before the buzzer made it 54-43 at halftime, and the Sixers led by double digits the entire second half.

“We got a chance to get home-court advantage. This was a big step,” Sixers coach Larry Brown said.

It was the Detroit’s first game without All-Star forward Ben Wallace, who sprained his left medial collateral ligament on Sunday.

The Sixers again were without Keith Van Horn, who sat out his second straight with a strained left foot.

“We just weren’t able to keep them out of the paint,” Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. “I’d like to say it was because Ben wasn’t in there, but we can’t use that as an excuse. If you give up 52 points in the paint, you’re not going to win. It’s as simple as that.”

Iverson, who hasn’t missed a game this season, was a game-time decision. He said after Sunday’s loss to Sacramento that he might have to sit out down the stretch. However, Iverson was still on the court with the Sixers leading by 20 and less than five minutes left.

“I was just playing basketball,” Iverson said. “I had the same energy. It didn’t feel any different. I was just able to make things happen.”

Iverson was 13-for-23 from the field and 11-for-13 from the foul line. He shot just six free throws combined in his last two games because his injury didn’t allow him to drive to the basket much and draw fouls.

The Sixers put the game away with an 8-0 run early in the fourth. Iverson started it with a driving layup and 16-footer. Derrick Coleman hit a 14-footerand Thomas nailed another jumper to make it 83-60.

Notes

Iverson got a standing ovation after he broke Steve Mix’s single-season team record of 212 steals when he recorded his only steal of the game midway through the fourth quarter. Iverson scored his 13,000th career point on his first basket of the third. … Pistons G Chauncey Billups returned after missing one game with a sprained left ankle. He had 12 points and 10 assists. … Sixers F Monty Williams (knee) didn’t play after appearing in seven straight. He has played in just 17 games this season. … The Sixers and Pistons split their season series, each team winning once at home and on theroad.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Detroit
C. Billups C. Billups
3-5,  12 Pts
3 Rebs, 10 Assists
 Philadelphia
A. Iverson A. Iverson
13-23,  37 Pts
4 Rebs, 8 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists