76ers win again, while Cavs lose once more

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2003

PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia 76ers are piling up wins against the teams they should beat.

Allen Iverson scored 23 points and Derrick Coleman added 20 points and 13 rebounds as the Sixers won their sixth straight game, 116-103 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.

The Sixers, unbeaten since the All-Star break, moved into a tie with Boston for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Five of Philadelphia's last six victories have come against teams with losing records, including four wins against Cleveland and Chicago, which are a combined 29-84.

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"All the games we lost earlier make these games so much more important," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "We have to win these games."

Dajuan Wagner scored 23 and Ricky Davis added 20 for Cleveland, which dropped to an NBA-worst 10-46. The lowly Cavs have lost six in a row and 10 of 11. Former Juneau-Douglas High School basketball player Carlos Boozer, a rookie power forward with the Cavs, started but was in foul trouble most of the game and only had four points and six rebounds.

Wagner, who grew up in nearby Camden, N.J., came off the bench to hit his first four shots and had 18 points before finally missing a runner late in the third quarter. He finished 6-for-11, and made all eight of his free throws. Wagner's first shot was a 3-pointer from halfcourt that just beat the first-quarter buzzer.

"They have me playing point and I'm just trying to get more comfortable," Wagner said. "I feel better coming off the bench if I'm playing point."

Iverson, coming off a 41-point performance in Friday night's 119-99 victory at Cleveland, took just three shots in the first half. He finished 7-for-23, and had six rebounds and five assists.

Keith Van Horn had 17 points, Kenny Thomas got 15 and Eric Snow added 13 for Philadelphia, which had six players in double figures.

"Our focus has been better, our approach is better and Coach is letting us know what we need to accomplish," Snow said. "We're always fine-tuning, but we're getting a better feel for each other."

The Cavs got to 47-46 on a 3-pointer by former Sixer Jumaine Jones midway through the second quarter. But the Sixers went on a 20-4 run, and led by double digits the rest of the way.

Iverson began the run with a 19-footer, Coleman had a 3-pointer and fastbreak layup during the spurt, and the Sixers led 69-54 at halftime.

Van Horn hit a layup to cap a 9-0 run, making it 81-60 early in the third as Philadelphia cruised to its third consecutive lopsided victory. The Sixers have won their last three by an average of 20.3 points.

"You try to stay close so when you make mistakes, you're not too far behind," Cleveland interim coach Keith Smart said.

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