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76ers surge past Celtics in 2nd half

©Associated Press

April 11, 2003

BOSTON -- With three big men sidelined, the 76ers needed more than 25 points from Allen Iverson. They got a boost from Kenny Thomas.

Thomas tied his season high with 20 rebounds and scored 15 as Philadelphia beat Boston 99-78 Thursday night to move one game behind New Jersey for the Atlantic Division lead.

"I came out a little bit more aggressive in the second half," said Thomas, acquired from Houston in December. "I just tried to go out and rebound, and if the points came, they came."

He had seven rebounds and 10 points in the third quarter, when Philadelphia erased a 44-43 halftime deficit and led 79-66 going into the fourth quarter, thanks to Iverson's 40-foot heave at the third-quarter buzzer.

In the first half Iverson had 18 points, three assists, five steals and a blocked shot.

"I don't think this was Allen's best, but he did amazing things," Philadelphia coach Larry Brown said. "Allen kept us in the game early."

Iverson said he hasn't been notified officially, but the Associated Press reported he will be asked to join the U.S. team for the 2004 Olympics. "I didn't concentrate on it as much because I had a game to play," he said. "It's just a great feeling to be able to represent the USA."

The 6-foot-7 Thomas represented the 76ers and their ailing frontline very well. Todd MacCulloch is on the injured list, Keith Van Horn missed his third straight game with an injured left foot and Derrick Coleman didn't return after straining his left quadriceps in the second quarter. He finished with six points and two rebounds in 14 minutes.

Boston was led by Paul Pierce's 24 points and 11 rebounds. Antoine Walker scored 12, eight below his average. The Celtics played their second game in two nights after clinching a playoff berth with a victory at Washington on Wednesday.

"We are a team that thrives on energy, and we didn't have any energy to battle back," Walker said.

Boston fell 1 1/2 games behind New Orleans for the fifth spot in the East and leads seventh-place Orlando by 1 1/2. The Magic hosts the Celtics on Saturday.

Pierce made eight free throws, setting a single-season team record of 581. Cedric Maxwell had 574.

HORNETS: A New York City fashion stylist has sued guard Kenny Anderson for $2-million, saying he broke financial promises he made during the more than three years she was his girlfriend. Jeanette DiLone, 32, said she stayed with the 32-year-old Anderson even though he was married after he offered her $1-million to quit work and stay home to be available to him and promised he would buy her a "million-dollar house." Anderson's lawyer, Irwin Levy, said his client told him DiLone was lying.

TV: The league's television channel will be carried by most of the major cable companies by next season, commissioner David Stern said. NBA TV, the league's 24-hour network, currently is seen in about 2.7-million homes via the agreements with EchoStar Communications Corp. and Hughes Electronics Corp. The network shows four live games a week.

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