Allen Iverson played one of the most efficient playoff games of his nine-year career last night, scoring 37 points and handing out five of his 15 assists in the fourth quarter to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the visiting Detroit Pistons, 115-104.
The 76ers defeated the defending champions for the first time in the best-of-seven series, cutting Detroit's lead to 2-1. Game 4 is tomorrow.
Iverson led the way as Philadelphia overcame an early 13-point deficit and then played its best ball in the fourth quarter, keeping the Pistons from getting much offense from anyone other than Ben Wallace.
Detroit's center scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but the Pistons got only two points from their reserves.
Detroit couldn't find a way to stop Iverson after holding him to 35 percent shooting in the first two games. He finished 15 for 26 from the field, including 2 for 4 from three-point range.
Chauncey Billups started as the primary defender on Iverson, and Richard Hamilton took over later in the game. But even when the Pistons managed to get the ball out of Iverson's hands, he was able to find open teammates.
Chris Webber scored 19 points, Rodney Rogers added 15, Samuel Dalembert had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Andre Iguodala had 13 points and seven steals for Philadelphia, which shot 55 percent.
Iverson's 15th assist came on a pass to Webber for a jumper that gave Philadelphia a 105-96 lead with 3 minutes 4 seconds left, and Iverson sank a three-pointer with 1:33 remaining to lock up the win.
SUNS 97, GRIZZLIES 82: Amare Stoudemire scored 30 points as visiting Phoenix rolled over Memphis for the franchise's first 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series.
Joe Johnson scored 20 points and Jim Jackson added 17 for the Suns. Shawn Marion added 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Lorenzen Wright led the Grizzlies with 14 points. Pau Gasol and Mike Miller had 13 apiece.
The Suns took their first lead at 31-30 on a jumper by Johnson with five seconds left in the first quarter, part of a 24-6 surge that led to a 57-47 halftime lead. Phoenix never let the lead dip below double digits in the second half.
KINGS 116, SUPERSONICS 104: Mike Bibby had 31 points and seven rebounds as host Sacramento toppled Seattle to cut its series deficit to 2-1.
Kenny Thomas scored 22 points and Cuttino Mobley had 21 for the Kings, who rode the energy from their deafening sellout crowd to a 21-point lead in the first half.
Game 4 in the best-of-seven series is tomorrow night, with Game 5 back in Seattle on Tuesday.
Ray Allen scored 33 points for the SuperSonics and Jerome James had 22 points and nine rebounds before fouling out.