Injured Sixers guard guts out 18-point night, hits key jumpers in final minutes of 89-88 win in Game 5.
© St. Petersburg Times,
published May 31, 2001
PHILADELPHIA -- After finding out earlier in the day that his sprained ankle was actually broken, Eric Snow decided to take a huge risk and play anyway.
Without him, the 76ers couldn't have won.
Snow hit two jump shots in the final two minutes for Philadelphia's final four points and the 76ers overcame another poor shooting performance by Allen Iverson to beat the Bucks 89-88 Wednesday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.
Iverson finished 5-for-27, but Snow shot 7-for-9 in scoring 18 as the 76ers added another chapter to their season-long story of overcoming whatever problems occur.
The victory wasn't assured until Glenn Robinson missed a 10-footer from the baseline and Ray Allen missed a tip-in at the buzzer.
The series resumes Friday night at Milwaukee, where the 76ers will try to advance and face the Lakers in the NBA Finals.
Snow, who missed 32 games after fracturing the same ankle this season, broke it again when he stepped on Sam Cassell's foot late in the first half of the 76ers' victory against the Bucks on Monday.
He limped into the First Union Center two hours before Game 5 as a friend carried his crutches. With 5:13 left in the first quarter, Snow entered the game and nailed a jumper on his first shot.
Dr. Donald Baxter, who inserted a 2-inch screw into Snow's ankle during surgery Dec. 12, said the new fracture is perpendicular to the screw.
"That's highly unusual," Baxter said.
Baxter and Sixers team physician Dr. Jack McPhilemy said the risk of further injury is not significant. However, Snow risks breaking the screw or further displacing the fracture.
He wore a special brace on the ankle in addition to heavy tape to protect it from a 90-degree turn.
"Surprisingly, his ankle feels better," McPhilemy said. "He played the whole second half on it."
Snow had six points, three assists and a key steal late in the fourth quarter of Philadelphia's series-tying 89-83 victory. He was averaging 8.5 points, 4.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds in the playoffs.
During the conference semifinals against Toronto, Snow was benched in favor of Aaron McKie because his injured foot was limiting his effectiveness.
"I spoke to Eric and told him it was his decision, and I'll support it," Sixers coach Larry Brown said before Game 5. "I have a lot of admiration for what he's been through all season, particularly these playoffs."
The Sixers already are without starting forward George Lynch, out with a broken foot. NBA MVP Allen Iverson is playing with a bruised tailbone that forced him to miss Game 3.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Phil's Philosophy is working to perfection after undergoing some heavy scrutiny during the winter.
Considering what Phil Jackson has accomplished as an NBA coach in the past 11 years, his recent success with the Lakers shouldn't come as a surprise.
"He's a winner, kept us well-prepared, let problems work themselves out," Shaquille O'Neal said.
"He's the best coach in the NBA," Kobe Bryant said. "He might be the best coach ever."
Interesting observations considering Jackson was criticized when O'Neal and Bryant squabbled in January because he left it to them to resolve their differences.
When things were at their shakiest between O'Neal and Bryant, Jackson used the expression "sandbox stuff" to reporters in describing the behavior of his top players, who ultimately worked out their differences.
He got his message across.
Sixers 89, Bucks 88
Philly leads 3-2
At Milwaukee, 9 p.m.
TV: Ch. 8