Losing in Final Second
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New York @
105 - 106
Record: 20-32
Mike Sweetney grabbed 11 rebounds in 23 minutes (AP)
Mike Sweetney grabbed 11 rebounds in 23 minutes (AP)
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Allen Iverson was smothered by a double team in the corner with time running out and no way to shoot.

Problem was, New York gave him room to pass.

Iverson made a nifty assist to Marc Jackson for the winning layup with a second left, and the Philadelphia 76ers moved back to .500 and into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division with a 106-105 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday night.

"I knew they'd double somebody, but I was surprised I was open," said Jackson, who scored 22 points. "It was a great play and we executed it perfectly."

Iverson was the first option, but he was quickly trapped by Stephon Marbury and Michael Sweetney. The Knicks still had a foul to give, but didn't use it and Iverson made them pay. Iverson whipped a perfect right-handed pass to a charging Jackson, who scored from the right side.

"As soon as I got the ball, I saw two people, then I saw Marc cut to the basket," Iverson said.

The Knicks had one last chance, but Nazr Mohammed's shot was off the mark and they lost for the 19th time in 23 games.

Iverson followed his career-high 60-point game against Orlando on Saturday night with 38 points against New York. His 98 points were his second-highest total in consecutive games, topped only by his 54- and 51-point performances in consecutive games in December.

Iverson, the NBA's leading scorer, started with a finger-roll layup on his very first shot and rarely strayed from his slashing and crashing style.

Again, he got to the free-throw line often, making 15 of 17 foul shots and shooting 11-for-24 from the floor. He also added 10 assists for his 16th double-double.

"It's tough to score 60 and not think about it the next game," Iverson said.

Iverson said he'd trade points for a championship, and while the Sixers (26-26) aren't on anybody's list as title contenders, they returned to .500 for the first time since they were 6-6 on Nov. 26. They share first place with the Boston Celtics.

Philly hasn't had a winning record since it was 4-3 on Nov. 14.

"Hopefully, we're getting over a hump," said Kyle Korver, who had 12 points. "That's not our goal to be a .500 team."

The Sixers wasted a 15-point third-quarter lead when Marbury capped a 17-4 Knicks run with a 3-pointer for a 99-97 lead.

Iverson and Penny Hardaway swapped 3-pointers and the Sixers tied it 102-all on an easy basket by Corliss Williamson, who scored 19 points.

Sweetney hit a jumper in the lane for a 104-102 lead and Jerome Williams sank one of two free throws to give the Knicks a three-point lead.

After Williamson made it 105-104, Iverson was trapped on the wing and lost the ball out of bounds.

Marbury stood with the ball near midcourt and had Iverson on him watching the shot clock tick down. Marbury started his drive toward the basket and Iverson appeared to trip over Kurt Thomas and fell to the floor. He came up limping and holding his left thigh, but appeared fine on the final possession.

Marbury led the Knicks with 32 points, and Jamal Crawford had 19.

"Nobody in this locker room is the type of player that's just going to give up or throw in the towel," Williams said. "We're going to keep fighting no matter what."

Iverson scored 31 points in the first half -- two ahead of his pace against the Magic -- but was held without a basket in the third quarter. He missed his only three attempts from the floor in the quarter and scored two points on a couple of free throws.

Marbury and Iverson turned the game into a nice one-on-one battle in the first quarter and it appeared they would be competing in a scoring duel for the rest of the evening. Iverson scored 10 points in the quarter on 5-for-8 shooting and Marbury had eight points on 4-for-5 shooting.

When Marbury slowed down in the second quarter, Iverson got going. He scored 21 points in the quarter -- one more than he did in the fourth quarter against the Magic -- thanks to 13 free throws.

Now Iverson is hoping a win over Detroit on Wednesday can give his team some momentum heading into the All-Star break.

"I'm just looking forward to the stretch run, trying to get into the playoffs and win a championship," he said.

Sixers president Billy King said he talked to Minnesota about Latrell Sprewell. "Is anything going to happen? Probably not," King said. ... The Sixers placed F John Salmons (asthmatic bronchitis) on the injured list and activated G Kevin Ollie. ... Starting F Kenny Thomas missed his second straight game with a back injury.

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