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Mutombo Makes Smaller Knicks Pay

January 20, 2002|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Dikembe Mutombo gave the Philadelphia 76ers more than they expected.

Mutombo finished with a season-high 24 points and 16 rebounds to lead the 76ers past New York, 97-89, on Saturday night, extending the Knicks' losing streak to seven games.

"Everyone has their role, but when you can do your role plus, that makes us a championship-caliber team," said Allen Iverson, who scored 34 points. "We needed it, we need everything we can get."

Mutombo made 10 of 15 shots from the field and the 76ers achieved their goal of exploiting their height advantage.

"We were able to take advantage of our size tonight," Mutombo said. "My team gave me a chance to get some touches and we responded."

Eric Snow added 15 points and Corie Blount, starting in place of the injured Derrick Coleman, had 15 rebounds for the 76ers, who outrebounded New York, 56-39, and won their fourth consecutive game.

"They really dominated us on the boards," said New York's Latrell Sprewell, who scored 32 points. "We felt we were containing them on defense, especially in the first half, but they kept hitting the boards."

The 76ers finished with 24 offensive rebounds. The Knicks had just nine.

"They got too many second shots, you just can't do that," Knick Coach Don Chaney said. "You have to be aggressive on the boards, especially against a good team."

Allan Houston added 25 points for the Knicks, who are mired in their longest losing streak since 1997.

The Knicks pulled to within 76-73 before Philadelphia used a 10-6 run to extend its lead to 86-79 with 3:20 remaining.

The 76ers' defense then forced New York into a shot-clock violation and Aaron McKie hit an eight-foot jumper with 2:05 remaining.

The Knicks closed to within four points in the final minute, but Iverson made six free throws to seal the victory.

Trailing 75-61 early in the fourth, New York used a 12-1 run to pull within 76-73.

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