- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 3, 2001

INDIANAPOLIS Allen Iverson scored 33 points and Aaron McKie came up with a big rebound and two free throws in the closing seconds last night as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Indiana Pacers 88-85 to win their 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 2-2.

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 years.

A 3-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 3-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 3-pointer for Indiana as the game ended.

Miller had 32 points for Indiana and Rose 18.

The Pacers had complained the 76ers and Iverson were getting favorable treatment from the officials earlier in the series, and Philadelphia hit 24 of 29 free throws to just nine of 10 for Indiana.

Despite the discrepancy, the Pacers led most of the game and had a 76-68 lead early in the final period after two straight baskets by Austin Croshere. The 76ers tied it at 80-80 on a basket by Tyrone Hill and went ahead on a basket by Eric Snow. Miller tied the game at 82-82 before Best's basket gave the Pacers their final lead.

Best finished with only seven points but had 12 assists. Jermaine O'Neal, scoreless in Saturday's Game 3 loss, had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Pacers.

Mutombo added 16 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots for Philadelphia.

The Pacers tried Rose, Best, even Miller on Iverson, who still managed 24 points in the first half. After an early nine-point Indiana lead, Jumaine Jones hit a 3-pointer and Iverson scored the last four of the first quarter to pull the 76ers within 27-25.

Iverson then scored the first basket of the second period to tie the game for the first time.

A rebound tip by Matt Geiger gave Philadelphia its first lead, and the 76ers built it to 37-33 on a 3-pointer by Iverson midway through the period. The Sixers' final five points before the half came on free throws.

With Rose out of the game with his third foul and a technical for protesting Miller took over. He hit a basket and then a free throw when Iverson received a technical for angrily complaining that Miller had traveled before the shot.

Iverson then was fouled and hit one of two free throws, but baskets by O'Neal and Miller put Indiana back in front. There was one more tie before the Pacers scored the final six points on four free throws by Miller and a slam dunk by Jeff Foster for a 48-42 lead at the break.

Miller had 13 points in the third quarter, and the Pacers took a 69-64 lead into the final period.

Notes McKie's 10 points gave him 69 for the series, or six more than all the Pacers' reserves in the four games… . The Pacers, who opened the playoffs with a one-point victory in Philadelphia, had never before lost a series in which they won the first game… . Sixers coach Larry Brown coached the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals twice, losing in seven games both to the Knicks in 1994 and Magic in 1995… .

Indiana's Sam Perkins, who did not play in Game 3, played five minutes in the fourth quarter. It was Perkins' 167th playoff game, second behind John Stockton's record 172 for the most postseason appearances by a player who has never been on a championship team… . O'Neal's one blocked shot gave him 10 for the series, or one more than his playoff total in his first four NBA seasons with Portland… . Iverson's 22 straight games of double-figure scoring are Philadelphia's longest streak since Charles Barkley's team-record 41 games from 1985 to 1991.

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