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Hawks Slip By Depleted Sixers

Tyrone Corbin didn't call backboard, but the shot counted anyway.

Corbin banked in a tying 3-pointer with four-tenths of a second left in regulation, and the Atlanta Hawks went on to their ninth victory in 11 games by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 103-99 in overtime Saturday night.

"It felt good coming off," Corbin said, managing a straight face. "Hey, it went in, didn't it?"

Steve Smith scored 29 points, including two free throws that clinched the victory with 6.8 seconds remaining.

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  • Allen Iverson, who missed Philadelphia's home loss to Boston on Friday night with a deep thigh bruise, returned to lead the 76ers with 24 points. But it wasn't enough to prevent their fourth loss in five games.

    Philadelphia led 86-83 when Smith missed three shots from outside the 3-point arc in the final minute of regulation and Corbin, losing track of the time, threw up an airball in desperation. Theo Ratliff rebounded for the 76ers and was fouled with 4.3 seconds to go, giving him a couple of chances to clinch the victory.

    Iverson, who hobbled slightly but still was quicker than anyone else on the court, shouted "game time" as Ratliff stepped to the line, but the 6-foot-10 center missed both attempts to give the Hawks another chance.

    Corbin inbounded to Mookie Blaylock, then ran into position to take a return pass just outside the 3-point arc. The shot slammed off the glass and went through as coach Lenny Wilkens grinned and rolled his eyes in disbelief.

    "It was a great shot," Wilkens said. "Hey, we're due. We should have a little luck go our way sometimes. You're trying to find a way to win. Tonight, nobody gave up. We just kept working at it and made it happen."

    Corbin, who scored 13 points, finally admitted that the tying basket wasn't exactly as he planned it.

    "It was a frtunate shot," he said. "I threw it up high. It hit the backboard and I was fortunate enough to have it go in. It's really great. The team's really coming together now."

    The Hawks moved within two games of Indiana, Miami and Orlando all tied for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

    Atlanta went ahead for good on Alan Henderson's dunk with 3:09 to go in overtime, then clinched the victory at the line by hitting six in a row over the final 29 seconds.

    "Everybody was kind of devastated about overtime," Philadelphia coach Larry Brown said. "They stepped up and made their free throws. ... We couldn't knock down our free throws."

    The loss rested squarely on the shoulders of Ratliff, a 73 percent foul shooter, though Harvey Grant blamed himself for allowing Corbin to get any sort of look at the basket.

    "I didn't carry out my defensive assignment," Grant said. "Coach told me just to watch out for the guy who's taking the ball in. I went to help for a second (on Blaylock) and then they threw it to Ty and he hit the shot. So this game is on me. He should have never got the ball in the first place."

    Smith led the Hawks despite going 1-of-9 outside the 3-point arc. Henderson added 23 points and Dikembe Mutombo grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked six shots.

    The first quarter was tight neither team led by more than four points but Philadelphia closed out the second quarter with a 24-6 run for a 48-36 lead at halftime.

    Notes: The 76ers, shorthanded in the backcourt, signed guard Doug Overton to a 10-day contract Saturday and placed Rick Mahorn on the injured list. ... The Georgia Dome crowd of 21,823 was the Hawks' largest of the season. ... Smith, who played at Michigan State, asked the score of the Final Four game between the Spartans and Duke on his way to the scoring table in the second quarter. ... Philadelphia coach Larry Brown missed a chance to win the 900th pro game of his career, counting his tenures in both the NBA and ABA. ... Matt Geiger hit his first 3-pointer of the season for the 76ers.

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