CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)—Allen Iverson slowly dribbled the ball, letting the clock run down before he attempted what could have been the game-sealing basket.
Only his shot didn’t come close to the rim, a 24-second violation was called, and Philadelphia had to sweat out its 107-105 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.
“I didn’t get that call, I didn’t get the free throw,” Iverson said of his final attempt. “Everybody on my team was screaming it was a foul.”
The Bobcats can relate.
After Iverson’s miss, the Bobcats had a chance to go for the tie or the win. Jason Hart got the call, driving the ball toward the basket as time was expiring. His shot also missed. And just like Iverson, he thought he was fouled.
“I wanted to make the refs call something,” Hart said. “So I went into the hole and got contact. But there was no call.”
Instead, the game ended with the ball in Iverson’s hands. The NBA’s leading scorer with 28.5 points a game, Iverson scored 24 points to lead the 76ers but was held to just six points in the second half.
“I’d rather play bad and we win the game then play great and we lose,” he said.
Korver made consecutive baskets, including a 3-pointer, to give Philadelphia a 103-98 lead, and Williamson scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Kenny Thomas finished with 21 points, Korver had 18, and Jackson scored 14 of his 16 in the third quarter.
Emeka Okafor led Charlotte with 18 points, 19 rebounds and three blocked shots, but he went just 4-of-12 at the line and missed two free throws in the final 2:33 with a chance to tie it both times.
“I was just off,” Okafor said. “I tried not to think about it every time I went to the line because if I’m going to do that, I might as well kick the ball instead of shoot it. But I was bad at the line.”
Charlotte, which has dropped sixth straight and 12 of 13, is starting to get a complex about the lack of calls it receives. Coach Bernie Bickerstaff was ejected midway through the fourth quarter for arguing over non-calls.
“They lay their hearts out there, and I want them to get some respect,” he said.
Watching the final two plays from the lockerroom, Bickerstaff was more surprised that Iverson didn’t get a call on his final drive then he was when Hart didn’t draw a foul.
“(Iverson’s) game is enhanced by his reputation,” Bickerstaff said. “I saw three bodies around him. Who did you say was in there? Was it Jason Hart? Oh, you get the message on that one.”
Already thin at point guard, the Bobcats took a hit four minutes into the game when Brevin Knight went out with a sprained left ankle. He was replaced by Hart, who suffered a slight sprain on Monday, and got help from Steve Smith.
One of the few veterans on the roster, Smith was activated prior to the game after a stint on the injured list. Only Smith wasn’t hurt—Bickerstaff was simply giving the younger players more minutes while tucking Smith away.
He quickly showed what Charlotte missed without him, hitting a 15-footer and a 3-pointer to spark a 9-2 run that gave Charlotte a 40-39 lead midway through the second quarter.
Smith helped again early in the fourth quarter, hitting another 3 and a soft turnaround jumper to put the Bobcats up 86-83.
But the Sixers answered with an 11-2 run to go up by eight halfway through the period. The Bobcats lost Bickerstaff during that span when he was ejected for arguing a non-call.
The Bobcats responded with a 3-pointer from Wallace to cut into Philadelphia’s lead and they pulled within two, 100-98, on Okafor’s basket.
Iverson has scored at least 20 points in all but three of the games he has played in this season. … Smith finished with 11 points. … Charlotte was just 22-of-35 at the line. … Korver made four 3-pointers. … Bickerstaff called Knight “valiant” for taking the blame for the Bobcats’ Monday loss to Milwaukee. Knight had a costly late turnover, but Bickerstaff said no one player was at fault.