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Iverson Gives Philadelphia A Big Assist in Playoff Push

Associated Press
Saturday, April 9, 2005; Page D05

Bothered by bum thumbs, Allen Iverson used nifty assists instead of slash-and-crash moves to help the Philadelphia 76ers make a nice pass in the standings.

Iverson had 23 points and a career-high 16 assists to help the 76ers sweep the season series against visiting Cleveland with a 103-98 victory last night and leapfrog the Cavaliers into seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

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Iverson sprained both his thumbs against the Cavaliers and said it affected his shot all game. It was hard to tell when Iverson hit a jumper with 8.5 seconds left that gave the 76ers a needed cushion.

"As soon it left my hand, I knew it was good," said Iverson, who shot 9 for 30. "Even with my hand hurting the way it was, I tried to let it go and not think about the pain."

PISTONS 114, MAGIC 102: Tayshaun Prince scored 26 points, Chauncey Billups added 23 and Detroit clinched the Eastern Conference's No. 2 playoff seed in Orlando.

Before the game, the Magic announced Grant Hill's sore left shin will sideline him for the rest of the season. Hill had been in intermittent pain since being kicked almost six weeks ago, but a CT scan showed no damage to the ankle that benched him for almost all of the previous four seasons.

• BUCKS 93, BOBCATS 75: Desmond Mason scored 21 points and Marcus Fizer added a season-high 18 to lead Milwaukee at home. Michael Redd chipped in 17 points in his return from a leg injury.

Charlotte, which got 20 points and 12 boards from Primoz Brezec, took an 11-point lead in the opening minutes but Redd sparked a quick comeback and the Bobcats trailed 49-33 at halftime after their least productive first half of their inaugural season.

BULLS 102, KNICKS 94: In New York, Ben Gordon scored 22 points and Kirk Hinrich added 20 to help Chicago hand the Knicks their ninth straight loss. Stephon Marbury had 29 points for the Knicks, who were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs during halftime when Philadelphia defeated Cleveland.

Adrian Griffin had 16 points and Antonio Davis added 12 for the Bulls.

KINGS 119, TRAIL BLAZERS 115: Peja Stojakovic had 35 points and Sacramento clinched its seventh-straight playoff appearance with a road win. Mike Bibby added 19 points and 11 assists for the Kings.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Darius Miles returned after missing three games to score 23 points for the Blazers, who lost Damon Stoudamire to a bruised shoulder in the fourth.

NUGGETS 107, TIMBERWOLVES 104: Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and Andre Miller had 22 points and 15 assists to help Denver deal a serious blow to the playoff hopes of host Minnesota.

Kenyon Martin added 24 points for the Nuggets, who improved to 27-6 under George Karl and won for the 20th time in their last 22 games.

GRIZZLIES 97, HEAT 81: The Grizzlies dominated play inside against a Miami team missing Shaquille O'Neal and moved closer to a spot in the playoffs with a win in Memphis. The Grizzlies, who are battling Minnesota for the eighth and final Western Conference spot, also used long-range accuracy to build a 30-point first-half advantage.

LAKERS 117, SUPERSONICS 94: In Seattle, Kobe Bryant scored 42 points and Caron Butler matched a season high with 31, leading Los Angeles past the playoff-bound SuperSonics. Bryant showed no effects of the bruised right shin that forced him to miss a game earlier this week. With his lower leg heavily wrapped, he shot 15 for 22 from the floor, rebounding from a 4 for 19 effort in Thursday's loss to Houston.

WARRIORS 127, SUNS 119: Mickael Pietrus hit six three-pointers while scoring a career-high 28 points, and host Golden State matched its franchise record with 18 three-pointers in its eighth straight victory.

Mike Dunleavy had 28 points, including five threes, as the Warriors extended their longest winning streak since 1994 with a high-octane victory over the NBA leaders, whose six-game winning streak ended despite Amare Stoudemire's 44 points.

• RAPTORS 109, HAWKS 101: Jalen Rose scored 30 points and, in overtime, Toronto handed visiting Atlanta its 14th straight loss. Morris Peterson added 26 points and 14 rebounds while Rafer Alston finished with 21 points and eight assists for the Raptors, who avoided being embarrassed by the Hawks for the second time this season.

JAZZ 98, HORNETS 87: Matt Harpring scored 10 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, leading Utah in New Orleans. The Hornets overcame a 14-point, second-half deficit to take an 85-84 lead before Harpring took over with eight straight points.

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