76ers 96, Lakers 73
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—After ripping his team for having no heart, Allen Iverson showed they still have a pulse.
In a game that stayed competitive for only a few minutes, Iverson had his way against defender Derek Fisher and repeatedly freed himself for mid-range jumpers and drives.
Iverson shot 15-for-29 from the field—missing his final four shots—and added six assists in one of the 76ers’ most lopsided victories of the season and the Lakers’ largest margin of defeat.
“I tried to make sure I led by example,” Iverson said. “I saw guys were trying to get things done the right way.”
The Lakers, playing their fourth road game in five nights and extra tired after arriving in Philadelphia around 4 a.m., lost Gary Payton to an ejection in a first quarter in which they scored just 10 points—matching their season low set earlier this week at Indiana.
Shaquille O’Neal missed 11 of 13 foul shots in the first half, finishing 3-for-15 from the line with 17 points.
“We just had dead legs tonight. It was just obvious we didn’t have any zip out there at all,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “This is not a low point. They’re not depressed about it. They just had a bad game. Shaq couldn’t make any free throws, they lose Gary …
“We’re not going into the woods to fight a bear with a switch. That wasn’t going to happen out there tonight.”
The Lakers were supposed to be joined by Kobe Bryant, who is on the injured list with a lacerated finger. But Bryant defied coach Jackson and did not show up, leaving the team wondering about his whereabouts until shortly before gametime.
Bryant’s agent told the Lakers that Bryant would join them in Orlando on the fifth stop of their seven-game road trip.
Glenn Robinson added 26 points for the 76ers, who were ripped by Iverson two nights ago following a loss to Toronto—their ninth in 11 games.
“We don’t play with no heart, we don’t take a challenge,” Iverson said during a 10-minute rant. “Guys don’t take pride and compete.”
After shooting off his mouth, it became clear early that Iverson might be capable of shooting the Sixers out of their slump.
He scored six points over the final 1:05 of the first quarter to help Philadelphia to a 25-10 lead.
“I hope it didn’t take that,” Iverson said of his public outburst. “If it did, I’m happy that it worked. Guys came out and played hard.
“I haven’t seen that energetic flavor from us in a while.”
The opening 12 minutes featured the quick ejection of Payton by referee Joey Crawford for arguing while Iverson shot free throws.
Payton did not comment after the game, nor did O’Neal.
“I’m not going to talk about it. It’s too irritating to talk about it,” Jackson said of Payton’s ejection.
The Sixers led 44-29 at halftime behind 20 points from Iverson, and he reached 30 points with 3:35 left in the third quarter by losing Fisher with a crossover dribble and hitting a 21-footer. Samuel Dalembert followed with a dunk off a pass from Robinson to give Philadelphia a 71-44 lead.
Iverson sat down for good with 4:02 remaining and the 76ers ahead 89-66.
Explaining why he ejected Payton, Crawford told Jackson that Payton was arguing with one of the other referees—“my teammate,” Crawford said. … The Lakers have lost in six of their last seven visits to Philadelphia. … The teams wore retro uniforms from the 1960s, the Sixers in red, white and blue and the Lakers in blue and white. Most of the 76ers wore headbands, too. … Crawford gave Robinson a technical in the fourth quarter for hanging on the rim after a dunk. … Sixers F Kenny Thomas sprained his right ankle early in the fourth quarter and did not return. He will undergo an MRI on Friday. … The76ers drew their fifth sellout crowd (20,965).