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Iverson's 53 not enough as Philly falls to Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) -- No matter how many shots he took, Allen Iverson
couldn't beat the Atlanta Hawks by himself.

Iverson scored 53 points, the fifth-highest total of his career,
but Joe Johnson had 24 to lead the Hawks over the Philadelphia
76ers 111-108 on Friday night.

"I'm as disappointed as everybody else on my team," Iverson
said. "We wanted to go into the holidays with a win. We'll have to
get this one out of our system and come back to work."

Zaza Pachulia added a career-high 23 points, including the
go-ahead free throws, and Al Harrington scored 22 for Atlanta,
which won its fourth straight at home and its fifth in the last
seven games overall.

"We shared the ball," Pachulia said. "We had 29 assists, and
that's great. We shot pretty good also, 54 percent. It's tough to
beat a team like that."

Iverson, who entered with a league-best 33.5 scoring average,
had 21 points and six rebounds in the first half. He shot 17-of-31
and hit 19 of 21 free throws, the last coming on a three-point play
that cut the Atlanta lead to 101-100 with 5:20 remaining.

He broke the record that Shareef Abdur-Rahim set at 7-year-old
Philips Arena with a 50-point performance against Detroit on Nov.
23, 2001. Iverson has scored 50 in nine games, including a
career-best 60-point effort in a 112-99 win over Orlando last Feb.
12.

Iverson gave the Sixers their last lead when his runner over
Johnson and Pachulia made it 105-104 with just under 3 minutes
remaining. Pachulia then made two free throws, then added a jumper
for a three-point lead.

On Philadelphia's last five possessions, John Salmons missed two
straightaway 3-point attempts and had a fast-break layup blocked by
Atlanta's Josh Smith.

"When someone is scoring like that, everybody else isn't
involved," Harrington said. "When they do shoot, they're ice
cold, so that worked in our favor."

Iverson drove past Salim Stoudamire and Harrington after a steal
for the Sixers' last basket, a layup that cut Atlanta's lead to
110-108 with 36 seconds remaining. Philadelphia had the ball with
2.4 seconds left when Iverson made an inbounds pass in front of the
Atlanta bench to Chris Webber, who missed an 8-foot turnaround
jumper.

"I told him before the play that if both men went to me, to go
to the basket and get a good shot," Iverson said. "Things didn't
go the way we wanted tonight."

Johnson made one free throw, then jumped to intercept Andre
Iguodala's long pass from the Hawks' baseline.

Two free throws by Iverson gave the Sixers their biggest lead at
82-70 in the third quarter, but the Hawks went on a 26-9 run to go
up 96-91 on Stoudamire's fast-break layup.

"We showed a lot of character coming back from 12 down,"
Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "I thought Iverson was tremendous
tonight. He created so many problems for us, but I like that we
found a way to overcome that and get the win. We had a number of
guys step up in the fourth quarter."

Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks could tell a big difference when
center Samuel Dalembert picked up his fifth foul with 9:02
remaining.

"Our defense is a lot better with Sam in the game, because he
can block shots and rebound the ball," Cheeks said. "They're a
jump-shooting team, with the exception of Harrington. We just have
to get better in all areas defensively."

Game notes
Iverson stayed home Thursday night to take care of an
undisclosed personal matter before joining the Sixers for the
morning shootaround Friday. ... Philadelphia F Michael Bradley did
not make the trip because his wife was expecting to give birth. ...
Johnson had eight assists. ... Webber added 16 points and 11
rebounds for the Sixers. ... Iverson, who leads the NBA in minutes,
played the entire second half.