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NBA notebook

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 3, 2001

76ers give Pacers early vacation

INDIANAPOLIS -- Allen Iverson had 33 points and Aaron McKie came up with a big rebound and two free throws in the closing seconds as Philadelphia beat Indiana 88-85 Wednesday night to win its first-round Eastern Conference playoff series 3-1.

Philadelphia advanced to the conference semifinals against the winner of the New York-Toronto series, which is tied at 2.

Iverson led the league in scoring this season and averaged 31.5 for the four playoff games against the Pacers, who eliminated the 76ers each of the past two seasons.

A three-point basket by Travis Best gave Indiana an 85-82 lead with just over two minutes to go, but McKie pulled the 76ers within one and Dikembe Mutombo gave Philadelphia the lead with a hook shot with 1:09 remaining.

After an exchange of possessions with no scoring, Reggie Miller missed a three-pointer and McKie pulled down the rebound with 5.8 seconds to go. He was immediately fouled and hit both free throws. Jalen Rose then missed a three-pointer for Indiana as the game ended.

KINGS 89, SUNS 82: The comeback Kings did it again, and they're headed to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 20 years.

Visiting Sacramento, down by 19 early in the second quarter, missed 22 consecutive shots, went more than 12 minutes without a field goal in the first half and still beat Phoenix to win the best-of-five Western Conference series 3-1.

The Kings hadn't won a playoff series since 1981, when they were in Kansas City. They advance to a second-round matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is Sunday in Los Angeles.

RAPTORS 100, KNICKS 93: Vince Carter threw down a windmill dunk the first time he got the ball, setting the tone for an inspired game by host Toronto.

Tying their best-of-five series at 2 and forcing a deciding fifth game Friday night, Carter and the Raptors looked nothing like the overanxious, poor-executing team that withered in Game 3.

Carter scored 32, his most in seven career playoff games, and former Knick Chris Childs added a career playoff-high 25 on 8-for-11 shooting as Toronto won a home playoff game for the first time in franchise history. The Raptors controlled the offensive boards, played intense defense and broke the game open with a 12-1 run beginning late in the third quarter to send the series back to Madison Square Garden for one more game.

After being criticized by teammate Charles Oakley for failing to act like a superstar and deflecting criticism onto the team as a whole, Carter had a different look in his eye from the outset.

Allan Houston scored 27 and Latrell Sprewell had 24 to lead the Knicks, who got little help from Marcus Camby in his first game in almost a week. Camby finished with four points, four rebounds and four fouls in 33 minutes. Camby was booed by Raptors fans from the moment he was introduced in the starting lineup.

HORNETS: The team, buoyed by a first-round playoff sweep of Miami and progress in a battle for a new arena, withdrew its application for relocation to Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday. Co-owner George Shinn said the fan turnout for Friday night's Game 3 against the Heat played a part in his decision. A capacity crowd of 22,283 saw the Hornets win 94-79.

NETS: Former All-Star center Jayson Williams would risk losing $60-million if he attempted a comeback after missing the last two NBA seasons with a severe leg injury. "It's not happening," Williams' attorney Sal DiFazio said Wednesday when asked about a potential comeback. The 33-year-old Williams, who has recently dropped hints about a comeback, has not played since breaking his right leg and injuring his right knee in a collision with teammate Stephon Marbury on April 1, 1999.

When Williams retired in June and the Nets waived him, the final four years of his contract, or $60-million, was insured, the lawyer said.

OBITUARIES: Andy Phillip, a Hall of Famer who was an All-American at Illinois and was the first NBA player to record 500 assists in a season, has died. He was 79. ... Richard Percudani, the Phoenix Suns' scouting director and an employee for 18 years, has died of cancer. He was 65. Percudani was the scouting director for the past six seasons.

PLAYER HONORS: SuperSonics point guard Gary Payton made the All-Defensive team for the eighth time. Only Michael Jordan made more appearances on the All-Defensive team, with nine. Bobby Jones and Scottie Pippen also made it eight times. Payton, who tied for 13th in the league during the regular season by averaging 1.61 steals, is joined by 76ers center Dikembe Mutombo, Suns guard Jason Kidd, and forwards Tim Duncan of the Spurs and Kevin Garnett of the Timberwolves. Mutombo, the Defensive Player of the Year, was the leading vote-getter with 43 points.

DRAFT: SirValiant Brown, a national sensation as a freshman at George Washington before slumping his sophomore year, declared himself eligible for the NBA draft. ... Indiana center Kirk Haston decided to pass up his senior season and enter the draft after talking with former coach Bob Knight, according to a Hoosiers teammate. "Coach Knight basically said Kirk had to take his opportunity when he gets it," teammate Jarrad Odle told the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune. Odle said that Knight, hired by Texas Tech this spring after being fired by Indiana in September, had been one of Haston's "main mediators."

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