Monday , Jan , 31 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Iverson returns to lead Sixers over Indiana

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Allen Iverson returned from a three-game
absence and scored 27 points with nine rebounds and eight assists to lead the
Philadelphia 76ers to an 89-88 victory over the Indiana Pacers Monday at the
Wachovia Center.

Iverson, who leads the NBA in scoring, has been sidelined with a strained left
shoulder. In addition to the last three games, he sat out a November 21
contest against Miami with an elbow contusion and was unable to go against
Minnesota on January 7 due to a right ankle injury.

The Sixers won their first game without Iverson this season in Dallas on
Saturday night.

Kyle Korver hit a jumper in the closing seconds to give Philadelphia the lead
and the 76ers held on for the win. Korver, who finished with 17 points, was
5-of-7 from three-point range. Kenny Thomas added 12 in the win.

“You see a guy (Korver) in his second year who’s able to hit a big shot like
that, it says a lot about him as a player,” Iverson said. “It says a lot about
his confidence and the confidence the coaching staff and we have in him.”

Stephen Jackson led the Pacers with 24 points. Jermaine O’Neal added 21 with a
game-high 10 rebounds for Indiana, which has lost five in a row. Fred Jones
contributed 12 points off the bench for the Pacers, who lost guard Jamaal
Tinsley in the first half because of a sprained left foot.

With the scored tied late in the game, Jones was fouled on a three-point field
goal attempt and made all three free throws to give the Pacers an 88-85 lead
with 1:29 remaining.

After two free throws by Iverson, Indiana’s Jeff Foster missed an open shot
from underneath the basket. Philadelphia failed to take advantage, as O’Neal
blocked a shot from close range by Samuel Dalembert.

The Pacers then had a chance to increase their lead, but Jackson missed two
free throws with 17 seconds left. Philadelphia took advantage, as Iverson
drove hard to the basket and dished to Korver, who hit a 10-foot fall-away
jumper with 6.5 seconds left on the clock.

“I was thinking maybe I could get another game-winner against that team,” said
Iverson, who beat Indiana with the first buzzer-beating shot of his nine-year
career on a 14-footer in overtime earlier this season.

Indiana had one last chance, but O’Neal missed a jumper as time expired.

Trailing 68-63 late in the third quarter, Iverson scored to spark a nine-point
run by the Sixers. The basket, which cut the Indiana lead to three after three
quarters, was the first by Philadelphia in almost six minutes.

The run continued into the fourth quarter as Korver hit his fifth three-
pointer to tie the game at 68-68. A basket by Corliss Williamson gave the
Sixers a 72-68 lead early in the final frame.

The game would remain close with the lead changing hands several times over
the final six minutes.

The Pacers trailed, 52-45, at halftime and were down by down 10 after a field
goal by Iverson early in the third quarter. A 21-6 run put Indiana on top,
68-63, late in the third quarter.

With the Sixers down by three in the early going, Korver hit from beyond the
arc to tie the game. The basket sparked a 13-2 spurt and Philadelphia led
23-15 after a field goal by Thomas capped the run with just over four minutes
left in the first quarter.

Indiana, which trailed by four after 12 minutes, regained the lead, 31-30,
after a free throw by Austin Croshere early in the second quarter. The Sixers,
however, responded soon after with eight unanswered points and led the rest of
the half.

John Salmons hit a pair of three-pointers and Aaron McKie capped the run with
a trey to give Philadelphia a 41-33 lead with 6:12 left in the second quarter.
The Sixers hit 6-of-9 shots from beyond the arc and led by seven at halftime.