- The Washington Times - Monday, April 29, 2002

PHILADELPHIA Allen Iverson was a franchise player yesterday.
After being challenged by his coach to take responsibility for winning and losing, Iverson scored 42 points, including 11 of Philadelphia's last 15, as the 76ers avoided elimination with a 108-103 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Derrick Coleman got the go-ahead basket for the Sixers with 45.5 seconds left.
Game 4 of the best-of-5 first-round series is Wednesday night in Philadelphia. Boston leads the defending Eastern Conference champions 2-1.
Only six teams in league history have come back to win a five-game series after losing the first two. Dallas did it against Utah last year.
"It's not about being a franchise player. All of my teammates are franchise players. Why not? I don't want to put myself above nobody on my squad," Iverson said two days after he deflected blame for Philadelphia's two losses by insisting he isn't a franchise player and shouldn't be singled out because he's just another player on the team.
"I'm a teammate, I'm a player on the 76ers team and that's that. But I do feel like I'm the best player and I'm the captain, so responsibility does come with that and I understand that. I understand when we lose, the finger is going to be pointed at me and when we win, people are going to praise me. That's what I have to deal with, simple as that."
Paul Pierce had 29 points for Boston and Antoine Walker added 27, including seven 3-pointers in the first half. The Celtics hit 15 of 30 from beyond the arc but only five of 16 in the second half.
"We were in position where we were up pretty late in the game and we made silly mistakes," Pierce said. "We turned the ball over too many times."
After missing 10 of his previous 12 shots, Iverson hit a short jumper to tie it at 100 with 1:48 left. But Rodney Rogers nailed a 3-pointer to give the Celtics a 103-100 lead.
Two free throws by Iverson cut it to 103-102, and after a three-second violation on Rogers, Coleman caught an air ball by Aaron McKie and made a reverse layup to give Philadelphia a 104-103 lead with 45.5 seconds left.
Pierce then missed a jumper, but the rebound bounced out of bounds off Eric Snow. Walker missed an open 3-pointer, and Iverson grabbed the rebound, was fouled and hit two free throws for a 106-103 lead with 19.7 seconds left.
Coleman blocked a 3-pointer by Rogers and Pierce missed one in the final seconds before Coleman got the rebound and sealed it with two free throws.
"We didn't get the calls," Celtics guard Kenny Anderson said. "You can't cry about it, but we didn't get the calls. It was just bogus."
The Sixers were 36-for-44 from the foul line, while Boston attempted just 18, missing two.
Snow, who was 4-for-25 in the first two games, had 23 points on 9-for-14 shooting, and Coleman had 18 points and nine rebounds. Iverson finished 10-for-23 from the field and 19-for-20 from the foul line.
Iverson, who missed the last 14 games of the regular-season because of a broken bone in his left hand, took some criticism after making just 15 of 45 shots for 49 points in the first two games.
"He said he wasn't the whole team and I laughed," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "I talked to him about that and I knew he didn't mean it. He looked forward to this opportunity and he stepped up."
During his conversation with Brown, Iverson assured him he wouldn't let the Sixers lose.
For a while, Walker had other plans. He was 7-for-7 shooting from 3-point range in the first half, including a playoff-record six in the second quarter.
"He bailed us out because we were getting hammered," Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said.
Boston, which trailed by 16 with 4:21 left in the second quarter, took its first lead, 62-60, on a 3-pointer by Pierce 2:10 into the third. A turnaround jumper by Tony Battie made it 74-68, giving the Celtics their biggest lead.
But a 12-2 run, capped by Iverson's 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, put Philadelphia ahead 80-76.
With only one starter Dikembe Mutombo on the floor early in the second for the Sixers, Boston went on a 10-3 run, closing within 33-31 on a 3-pointer by Walker.
But the Sixers scored 15 consecutive points after Iverson and Matt Harpring returned, taking a 46-31 lead. Iverson had six straight points during the run, which was capped by a 3-point play by Harpring.
Walker ended the run with a 3-pointer, but Iverson answered with a 3 of his own.
Walker had five straight 3s over a seven-minute stretch of the second in which no other Celtic scored.

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