Iverson, Sixers Stop Sonics

Once the smoke cleared and the dusty debris from a fire-belching pregame show was swept away, the Philadelphia 76ers finally got something to work right: Their new lineup.

Allen Iverson scored 37 points and Larry Hughes added 27 Monday night as the Philadelphia 76ers won for the first time this season, 117-98 over the Seattle SuperSonics.

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  • Iverson and Hughes, who call themselves the "Flight Brothers," started together for the first time this season in a skakeup that sent point guard Eric Snow to the bench.

    "Obviously, it worked," said Iverson, who led a 39-19 scoring outburst in the fourth quarter with 17 points.

    That was about all that worked for the Sixers in their home opener. A giant video screen malfunctioned, cutting short a tribute to the late Wilt Chamberlain. The shot clock, game clock and scoreboard malfunctioned repeatedly.

    The most embarrassing moment came when the game was delayed twice for nearly 30 minutes because a gaudy fireworks and blowtorch show left the court shrouded in smoke and the floor covered with dust. Players retreated to their benches while courtside attendants swabbed the decks with brooms and towels.

    "Those fireworks things are silly, anyway," Sonics coach Paul Westphal said. "Save it for the Fourth of July."

    The Sixers, who started the season 0-3, ended a 12-game losing streak against Seattle with their first victory over the Sonics since 1992. The Sonics lost for the first time this season after starting 3-0.

    Gary Payton had 28 points and hit four 3-pointers for the Sonics, who started 6-0 last seaso. Ruben Patterson scored a career-high 22 points, but only three in the second half.

    "We didn't have no bright spots," Payton said. "We lost."

    Hughes had a career high in points in his second career start and nearly got into a shoving match with Payton late in the fourth. Hughes thought he'd been fouled by Payton, who took exception. Both were given technicals as the players converged with George Lynch and Vernon Maxwell in the middle of the near-melee.

    "I don't worry about altercations," said Payton, who was more concerned about not getting enough shots in the fourth quarter.

    "Did you see me get the ball?" asked Payton, 0-for-4 in the fourth. "I didn't get the ball in the fourth quarter. You do the math."

    Todd MacCulloch, a 7-foot rookie, had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Philadelphia, which had a league-low 79-point scoring average and hit 100 for the first time. Brown got an offensive jolt by starting Iverson and Hughes in the backcourt with Aaron McKie running the point.

    "I don't know if this is what the club needed, Larry and Allen starting together," Brown said. "They played great together tonight."

    MacCulloch and Iverson keyed an 11-3 run early in the fourth that gave the Sixers their biggest lead to that point, nine points. Iverson had a three-point play, two free throws and a 15-footer on an offensive rebound to make it 93-84 with 8:16 to play. MacCulloch cut to the basket for an easy layup after Snow sent Payton stumbling with a fake.

    Iverson had a steal and layup and two more free throws, and Hughes hit a jumper and two foul shots for a 101-88 lead with 5:47 left. Iverson hit two-straight 3-pointers to make it 108-91, then showboated a bit with the ball as the clock wound down.

    Patterson, doing his best Dominique Wilkins imitation, scored seven of the Sonics' last eight points of the first half with an array of inside cuts and soaring dunks. He gathered a loose ball and threw down a thunderous dunk on MacCulloch hanging in the air and glaring at him.

    After a long rebound on Hughes' miss, Patterson took a pass and soared in for a two-handed breakaway dunk that made it 49-46 Seattle. He cut to the basket and scored inside for a 51-48 Seattle lead at halftime.

    Payton hit a 3-pointer, and McKie answered with a 3 while falling out of bounds to put the 76ers up 78-67. Payton then hit a long, high-arcing 3-pointer with six-tenths of a second left for a 79-78 lead after the third.

    Notes

  • Brown got a technical and flirted with getting ejeted in the third when he disagreed with ref Tony Brothers about several calls.
  • Philadelphia's bench outscored Seattle's 31-21.
  • The Sonics made only 17 of 31 free throws. The Sixers made 13 of 17.
  • Teddy Pendergrass, who cannot walk and has limited use of his hands due to an auto accident 15 years ago, gave a stirring rendition of the national anthem from his wheelchair.
  • Sixers forward Tyrone Hill ruptured a ligament in his right ring finger and will miss 7-10 days.

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