- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2002

PHILADELPHIA One day after looking as if they were beginning to mesh, the Washington Wizards slipped back into some dirty old habits, falling to the Philadelphia 76ers 100-84 last night at First Union Center in front of 20,437.
The Wizards committed a season-high 23 turnovers and, perhaps more to coach Doug Collins' chagrin, were beaten to numerous loose balls and rebounds, balls recently they've been getting their hands on.
Washington's careless ball handling led to 28 points off turnovers. Philadelphia's aggressive approach, on the other hand, resulted in 14 steals many of them generated off a trapping defense that clearly befuddled the Wizards. Philadelphia also pounded the Wizards (6-5) under the boards, forging a decisive 40-28 advantage.
"This is a team that thrives on other teams' mistakes," Collins said after the Wizards' road record fell to 1-3. "We play at a tempo on the road that gets us in trouble. We gave ourselves a chance to get back in it then we would turn it back over."
The Wizards, who to a man felt they squandered a golden opportunity against an Atlantic Division foe, will now have to wait until they travel to Houston on Friday to rinse the taste of defeat from their mouths.
Some in the solemn Washington locker room felt the 76ers might have gotten some extra help from the officials.
"It seemed like every time we breathed on little [Allen] Iverson we got called for a foul," said Bryon Russell. "It's hard to beat eight people. Plus we stayed on the refs. At the time we needed to leave the refs alone and that got us out of our rhythm."
Philadelphia (7-3) improved its home record to 6-0. And as is usually the case, Iverson led the 76ers with 28 points. Newly acquired forward Keith Van Horn was 9-for-13 from the field for 23 points, and he also grabbed seven rebounds. Point guard Eric Snow posted a double-double (11 points, 12 assists), and reserve forward Greg Buckner added 16 points and five rebounds.
Despite the Wizards committing seven turnovers which led to nine points, the game was tied 26-26 after one quarter.
But Washington's good fortune disappeared in the second quarter. While Philadelphia remained hot it made 54 percent of its shots in the half Washington struggled. Philadelphia opened the second quarter on a 14-4 run that yielded a 40-30 lead.
Faced with an aggressive, trapping defense, the rhythm the Wizards established in the first quarter became nonexistent. While Philadelphia scored 29 points in the second quarter and at one time led by 14 points Washington netted just 16.
Jerry Stackhouse finished with a game-high 29 points on 12 of 19 shooting. Michael Jordan added 19 points. However, the two were responsible for 10 of Washington's turnovers. No other Washington player scored in double figures as the Wizards lost for only the second time in seven games.
Washington appeared to hit a wall at the most inopportune time, specifically when the game was being decided.
Having cut what had been a 16-point third-quarter lead to 77-74, the Sixers put the lid on their latest home victory with a decisive 18-5 run that pushed their lead at 95-78.
Much of this was the byproduct of Washington's inability or lack of desire to shoot anything but jump shots down the stretch.
That was fine with Philadelphia coach Larry Brown.
"We felt that as long as they were going to shoot jumpers, and we don't give them second shots and don't let them get to the free-throw line, we'll have our chances," Brown said. "We had a lot of guys play well."


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