Sixers Overcome Miller And Pacers Allen Iverson And Eric Snow Keyed The Victory Over The Team That Tormented Their Own In Last Spring's Playoffs.

Posted: January 23, 2000

Reggie Miller, the Indiana Pacers' superstar, was merely a major contributor in last night's game with the 76ers until a packed house at the First Union Center got him going with its mocking chants.

But when there are questions about an outcome, there's an answer, as Allen Iverson reminded the fans once again.

"The Franchise" poured in a game-high 37 points, including a three-point play with 1 minute, 4 seconds remaining, and backcourt mate Eric Snow scored on a running jumper in the lane with 26.3 seconds left as the Sixers posted an electrifying 103-97 victory in front of a frenzied sellout crowd of 20,623.

The Pacers didn't surrender, taking their swipes with four three-point attempts in a 19-second span - missing all of them - before Tyrone Hill sealed the deal by grabbing a rebound.

The result: Indiana (26-14) dropped its second game in a row, and the Sixers (24-17) notched their fourth win in their last five games. The Sixers also gained a psychological edge against the Pacers, who had swept them in the second round of last season's NBA playoffs.

"We can beat that team," Iverson said. "We can beat anybody when we play our game."

Iverson finished the night shooting 14 for 31. He picked up six assists to partly make up for six turnovers.

Hill, rugged for the entire game, collected 16 points and 10 rebounds. He hit all eight of his free throws.

Matt Geiger came off the bench and actually played like a 7-footer, totaling 10 points and 11 rebounds in 20 minutes.

And, surprisingly against the towering Pacers, the Sixers managed to post a 48-33 advantage in rebounds.

All of that was enough to offset a 28-point effort by Miller, who shot 10 for 20 from the field; to negate the performance of Dale Davis, who finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds; and to relieve the Sixers of having to explain how 38-year-old Sam Perkins had managed to net 16 points in 18 minutes off the bench while shooting 6 for 7 from the field.

The Sixers helped themselves by setting a First Union Center record, hitting 30 of 32 (93.8 percent) from the free-throw line.

"I think we realized it was a big game," said forward George Lynch, who scored eight points in 32 minutes. "It was one of those games where we had to make a statement to ourselves about what kind of team we want to be this year. We came out focused from the start. That's how we have to play to take the next step."

Those who think they've heard that from the Sixers before are correct. Players have said much the same thing after games against Orlando, Miami, Charlotte (twice), Portland (twice) and San Antonio. Yet the Sixers have come up short at least once against all of those teams, usually because their surges come too late, after they have dug themselves holes to big to climb out of. By the fourth quarter, their energy usually has been sapped.

That wasn't the case last night, however. The Sixers went on a third-quarter tear that set the stage for the victory.

Midway through the period, a fastbreak layup by Snow and a driving jumper by Iverson ignited a 12-0 spurt as the Sixers surged ahead by 75-67 before ending the quarter up by six.

With 9 minutes, 36 seconds to go in the game, they were leading by 81-71. Miller, arguing with the referees about no-calls, threw a towel to the floor during a Pacers time-out and earned himself a technical foul.

Sixers fans - already fired up after participating in the taping of a video by rapper/actor Will Smith at halftime - chided Miller with chants of "Reg-gie, Reg-gie, Reg-gie."

Apparently, they forgot what that does to Indiana's sharpshooter. Especially when he faces the Sixers. He reminded them by immediately hitting a three, then converting a three-point play, then hitting another three with 6:03 left. Those points, however, would be his last.

"I was put on him after Travis Best came in the game [for the Pacers]," said Snow, one of the Sixers' best defenders. "That was my job. He's a great scorer, so you know I took it real seriously."

Said Geiger: "It's all about big games like these, putting things together and coming out with a win."

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