Sixers Still Perfect, Now 6-0

76ers guard Allen Iverson, right, turns to pass as he drives past Timberwolves center Rasho Nesterovic. AP

The Sixers are no longer a one-man show. They're off to their best start in 21 years because of it.

Eric Snow had 22 points as the undefeated and unselfish 76ers became the first NBA team to reach six wins by holding off Minnesota 84-82 on Thursday night.

Snow, who had 16 points in the second half a day after a 10-point fourth-quarter performance in a win over Detroit, tied the game at 77 on a jumper with 1:41 left. His pair of free throws with 26 seconds left gave the Sixers an 83-79 edge.

Philadelphia used a 14-8 run over the last 4:11 to overtake the Timberwolves.

Sixers coach Larry Brown, who is off to his own best start as a coach since going 8-0 with Denver in 1976-77, was pleased with the way Snow ran the show.

"He took some heat from me (Wednesday) because he has to be the coach on the floor and get us into stuff," Brown said. "But tonight we got down, he stepped up, got it to the right people and made some amazing plays."

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  • It's not a secret that Philadelphia has relied heavily on Allen Iverson for a large share of the scoring the last few seasons. But this year, his backcourt mate is picking up a lot of the slack.

    "That's been a big part of our success so far," said Snow, who has never averaged more than eight points a game in his career. "We're not about to get to the point where we feel one guy has to carry the load."

    That was evident in the second half.

    Iverson, who scored 80 points in two games against the Timberwolves last season, had 18 Thursday but made just one field goal in the first half. He picked up his fourth foul with 6:14 left in the third quarter and didn't return until a few minutes had elapsed into the fourth.

    Snow was squarely behind the 76ers' second-half comeback.

    "It means a lot to us," Iverson said. "It's great when anybody can step up."

    Brown was pleasantly srprised with the Sixers' comeback after his team committed 11 turnovers in the first half and scored just 30 points.

    "It's a miracle we got back in there," Brown said. "We did some good things defensively, and we just hung in there in the second half and got our offense going."

    The Wolves, who led 36-30 after an ugly first half, missed two chances to tie the game in the last 16 seconds. Chauncey Billups, who notched 18 of his 20 points in the second half, missed a layup with 15.9 seconds left and the Wolves trailing 84-82. Minnesota promptly fouled George Lynch, who missed both of his free throws.

    Billups then took the ball upcourt and put up a wild shot, getting fouled by Snow with 0.9 seconds left. But he missed the first foul shot and had to intentionally miss the second. The Timberwolves couldn't control the rebound and time ran out.

    "It's the first time I ever missed in a situation like that," Billups said. "We're losing a lot of close games right now. We're beating ourselves."

    The Timberwolves have led at halftime in five of their first six games yet are 2-4. Billups was confident that trend wouldn't continue.

    "It'll change real quick," he said.

    Kevin Garnett, whose 3-pointer with 16 seconds left pulled Minnesota within one at 83-82, had 24 points. He has scored at least 21 points in each game.

    The two teams put on a putrid performance in the first two quarters. The 76ers were 10-for-36 from the field, while Minnesota was 1-for-9 from 3-point range and 3-for-8 from the foul line.

    LaPhonso Ellis came off the bench to score nine of his season-high 13 points in the first half for Minnesota.

    Notes

  • Minnesota (11-10) is one of just three teams with an all-time winning record against the 76ers. Charlotte and San Antonio are the others.
  • Minnesota had entered the game leading the league in 3-point accuracy (47 percent). They were 5-for-15 Thursday.
  • A handful of Minnesota sports stars showed up for the game. The Vikings' Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper kept Kirby Puckett company next to the former Twin's usual seat near the Wolves' bench. Another Viking, Cris Carter, sat a few rows back, as did Twins coach Paul Molitor.


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