Alonzo Mourning had his best game. Allen Iverson had another 40-point game. But Tim Hardaway had the shot of the game.
Hardaway's leaning 22-footer over Eric Snow with 5.6 seconds to play gave the Miami Heat an 83-81 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, who wasted 41 points from Iverson.
In a game featuring playoff-like intensity, the 76ers pulled into the sixth and final tie of the fourth quarter when Dikembe Mutombo rebounded a miss by Snow and threw in a hook shot as he was fouled with 17 seconds to go. But Mutombo missed the free throw, leaving the score 81-81.
Hardaway, who had his dribble poked away from him by Snow in the final seconds of a loss on November 4, dribbled to the left of the arc and stepped on the circle as he leaned forward. Snow had a hand in his face, but Hardaway made the shot.
"The shot was a little quick but we probably wouldn't have gotten a better shot than that," Hardaway said.
"He made a good shot," Snow said. "He's made so many in his time. He kind of pushed off and made a great shot with a hand in his face."
The Sixers could not inbound to Iverson, who made 14-of-28 shots in his 17th 40-point game of the season. Instead, Snow passed to Aaron McKie, who passed to Jumaine Jones and took a return handoff before coming up short on a 3-pointer from the left sideline.
"The way Iverson was playing I would have liked to get him the ball," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "They did a good job of keeping the ball out of his hands but we got a pretty good look."
Mourning played his best game since his return from a kidney
ailment two weeks ago. Perhaps motivated by playing against
fellow Georgetown alumnus Mutombo, Mourning had season highs of
20 points and 16 rebounds in 26 minutes and was on the floor
down the stretch.
"I don't care how many minutes I play as long as we get the
`W,'" Mourning said. "I know we have a huge window of
opportunity to get to that championship level. If we just stay
the course, the sky is the limit."
"Adrenaline had a lot to do with it," said Iverson, another
Georgetown alumnus. "He hadn't been playing as well as he did
tonight but Alonzo is a special basketball player. He's an
All-Star in every sense of the word."
It was a big win for the Heat (47-30), who blew an 11-point lead
and had to rally in the fourth quarter. They moved one game in
front of New York in the race for the third seed in the Eastern
Conference -- and the chance to avoid Philadelphia, the East's
top team, until the conference finals.
"Tonight had a playoff feel to it," Riley said.
"It wasn't a playoff game. I know that feeling already,"
Iverson said. "To me, this wasn't a playoff atmosphere. The way
they were jumping around at the end of the game showed me that
they really wanted this game."