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Iverson ignites Sixers past Lakers

Kobe Bryant loses the ball during a loss to Philadelphia on Friday.
Kobe Bryant loses the ball during a loss to Philadelphia on Friday.
Rusty Kennedy, Associated Press

Allen Iverson made the most of the wide-open look Andre Iguodala never gave Kobe Bryant.

Iverson outplayed Bryant in an anticipated matchup of the league's leading scorers, scoring 34 points and sinking the winner with 22.2 seconds left to lead the 76ers to an 85-81 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night in Philadelphia.

Iverson — stumbling in the fourth quarter after he missed an easy layup, two free throws and was whistled for traveling — stepped just inside the 3-point arc and buried a jumper in the final seconds for an 83-81 lead.

Bryant missed a jumper over Iguodala with about 5 seconds left, and Iverson made two free throws to seal Philadelphia's third straight win after losing its first three.

Kyle Korver and John Salmons each hit critical 3-pointers in the final 2 1/2 minutes to pad the Sixers' lead, but it wasn't enough once Bryant finally got going.

Unable to find his shot all game against Iguodala's sticky D, Bryant came through in the final minute with a three-point play and then another basket with 37.8 seconds left to rally the Lakers and tie the score at 81.

But Iverson made up for a small stretch of miscues that nearly cost the Sixers, hitting a jumper that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

"Once they made one breakdown, they left me open and I got a good look at it," Iverson said.

Bryant came in averaging a league-high 34.8 points, but was held in check by Iguodala on 7-for-27 shooting.

"That's something we expect from Dre every night," Iverson said. "We know he has the ability to shut people down."

Chris Mihm picked up the slack inside with 20 points, and Lamar Odom added 16.

Iverson — second in the league behind Bryant with 29.8 points — fired up the Sixers and started a rally late in the fourth when he was challenged on his way to the basket.

After a rare miss on an uncontested fastbreak layup on the previous possession, Iverson was staggered on a hard foul the next time down by Sasha Vujacic. Vujacic threw his arm back and connected with Iverson in the neck, sending the feisty All-Star into a fit. He needed to be restrained from a possible fight.

Both players were whistled for technicals, so Iverson attempted only two free throws for the shot, and he paced around the court, agitated, before going to the line.

After he sank the first one, he turned to his left and glared at Vujacic. He hit the second to pull the Sixers to 69-66.

Iverson added two more free throws the next time down and Chris Webber followed with a spin move to give the Sixers a 70-69 lead.

But Iverson missed two free throws with the Sixers holding a 78-74 lead and traveled with 52 seconds left, allowing Bryant to make the game-tying running jumper.

CAVALIERS 89, GRIZZLIES 70: At Cleveland, LeBron James scored 16 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Cleveland clamped down defensively on Memphis. The Cavs, improving each time out under first-year coach Mike Brown, contested every shot, outhustled the Grizzlies to every loose ball and dominated the boards, outrebounding Memphis 49-29 while holding it to a season low in points.

WIZARDS 137, SUPERSONICS 96: At Washington, Gilbert Arenas scored 32 points in 31 minutes, and Antawn Jamison added 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards. It was the first time since Feb. 22, 2000, against Milwaukee that Washington scored at least 100 before the fourth quarter.

PACERS 102, NETS 90: At Indianapolis, Ron Artest scored a season-high 30 points on 10-for-15 shooting for the Pacers. Jermaine O'Neal added 20 points, Anthony Johnson scored 15 of his 19 points in the third quarter, and Stephen Jackson had 15. Vince Carter led the Nets with 18 points.

SPURS 103, CELTICS 82: At Boston, Tim Duncan had 29 points and 12 rebounds to help San Antonio beat Boston for the 16th consecutive time. Tony Parker added 23 points and Bruce Bowen had 12 for the Spurs (5-1). Paul Pierce had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Boston, which last beat the Spurs on Jan. 8, 1997.

KINGS 101, NUGGETS 85: At Sacramento, Peja Stojakovic scored 23 points to lead the struggling Sacramento Kings. Shareef Abdur-Rahim and reserve Kevin Martin scored 14 points and Bonzi Wells had 13 to help the Kings beat the Nuggets for the 18th straight time at Arco Arena.

MAVERICKS 98, BOBCATS 88: At Charlotte, N.C., Dirk Nowitzki shrugged off a back problem to score 23 points and grab 16 rebounds for Dallas. Devin Harris added 21 points for the Mavericks, Keith Van Horn had 16 and Josh Howard 12. Melvin Ely led Charlotte with 14 points.