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Iverson finds answer

He fails to score 50 points, but his 40 pace Sixers' win

Allen Iverson got exactly what he wanted last night, and it wasn't a third straight 50-point game. Iverson scored 40 points, ending his streak of 50-point games at two. More importantly, he led the Philadelphia 76ers to a 102-90 win over the Pacers at Indianapolis.

"I'm glad it didn't take that [50 points]," Iverson said. "I hope it was there if we needed it."

The Pacers led by 5 with just over six minutes to play, but Philadelphia closed the game with a 19-2 run -- helped by two technical fouls called on Jamaal Tinsley.

Tinsley was whistled twice within 20 seconds, getting ejected for arguing with officials after picking up his sixth personal foul with 1:51 to play.

"We gave into some things out there," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "We gave into some frustrations with the officials, which is something that is going to happen from time to time, but it can't become habitual. And Philadelphia took advantage of the situation."

The ensuing free throws allowed the 76ers to extend a 6-point lead to 10 and cruise to the win.

Reggie Miller led the Pacers with 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting.

Iverson was looking to become just the third player in NBA history to score 50 or more points in three straight games. He had 54 against Milwaukee Saturday and 51 against Utah Monday.

His 40 points pushed his three-game total to 145, breaking his previous best of 134 in 1997-98.

"I hope it continues," Iverson said with a chuckle, before adding that he "gets better with age."

Nets 92, Cavaliers 90 -- Richard Jefferson capped the highest scoring night of his career by sinking an alley-oop layup off an inbounds pass with 0.8 seconds left for host New Jersey.

Jefferson scored 42 points, the final 2 coming when he rolled free of defender LeBron James (who had 23 points), caught Jabari Smith's lob pass, and dropped the ball through.

Magic 93, Spurs 87 -- Steve Francis scored 29 points, 7 in a late game-breaking run, and host Orlando snapped a seven-game losing streak against San Antonio. Tony Battie had 9 points and 11 rebounds, and his defense on Tim Duncan kept the two-time MVP from being a factor down the stretch.

Lakers 101, Hornets 89 -- Chucky Atkins scored a season-high 30 points, Chris Mihm had 21 rebounds to match the highest total in the NBA this season, and host Los Angeles beat New Orleans.

Kobe Bryant (9 of 26) had his second straight off-shooting night, but scored 17 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers snapped a two-game losing streak -- both at home. They haven't lost three straight home games since February 1999.

SuperSonics 98, Nuggets 83 -- At Seattle, Rashard Lewis scored 21 points to lead four SuperSonics in double figures.

Ray Allen added 20 points for Seattle, and Vladimir Radmanovic scored 19 as the SuperSonics improved to 19-5.

Raptors 98, Jazz 86 -- Donyell Marshall scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as host Toronto beat Utah.

Warriors 109, Grizzlies 99 -- Jason Richardson scored 24 points, Troy Murphy had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Golden State snapped a four-game losing streak.

Hawks 113, Mavericks 100 -- Antoine Walker scored 25 points and host Atlanta snapped a five-game losing streak.

Bulls 89, Pistons 82 -- Ben Gordon scored 19 points and fellow reserve Tyson Chandler had 13 points and 11 rebounds as visiting Chicago won its fifth straight game.

Bobcats 90, Rockets 87 -- Charlotte won on the road for the first time, getting 21 points and 11 rebounds from rookie Emeka Okafor.

Trail Blazers 104, Bucks 95 -- Nick Van Exel had season highs with 26 points and six 3-pointers, and Zach Randolph added 22 points to lift Portland at Milwaukee.

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