76ers 116, Nets 96


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Allen Iverson had 40 points and 10 assists, and the Philadelphia 76ers remained tied for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with a 116-96 win over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night.

Chris Webber, back in the lineup after missing two games with a lower back strain, added 18 points for Philadelphia, which is tied for the No. 8 spot with Chicago at 37-41 with four games remaining. The Bulls beat Atlanta 96-90 Wednesday night.

The Bulls own the tiebreaker with Philadelphia because of a better conference record.

Vince Carter led New Jersey (47-31) with 21 points and Nenad Krstic had 18 points and 11 rebounds, but both players sat out the fourth quarter along with the rest of the Nets starters.

New Jersey allowed its most points in a game this season and fell to 1-3 since tying a franchise record with 14 straight wins. Philadelphia has won three games in a row after losing 10 of 13.

The 76ers led by 21 points at halftime and never let the advantage slip under 15 the rest of the game. New Jersey, which had played a night earlier in the Chicago, mounted a minor rally to cut a 77-55 deficit to 80-65, but didn’t seem to have the energy to go any further and coach Lawrence Frank cleared the bench at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

After a slow start to the game, the 76ers went on a tear and shot a blistering 14-for-23 (61 percent) to take a 33-21 lead at the end of the first quarter. They stretched the lead to 21 points (67-46) by halftime as Iverson, who was comparatively quiet in the first period with five points, scored 17 on 6-for-8 shooting.

The Nets, meanwhile, got productive halves out of Carter (16 points) and Krstic (14) but received a total of seven points in the first 24 minutes from fellow starters Richard Jefferson, Jason Kidd and Clifford Robinson, who was starting in place of injured Jason Collins.

New Jersey even gave first-half minutes to Bostjan Nachbar, who had played a total of 18 minutes in seven games since being acquired in late February.

Notes: Iverson scored 40 or more points for the 15th time this season. He reached 40 points and 10 assists for the fifth time. … After giving up 100 points or more in one of 14 games, New Jersey has allowed more than 100 in four of its last five games. … Collins (right knee bruise) missed the game for New Jersey, as did F Antoine Wright (left quad strain). … 76ers G Kevin Ollie missed his third straight game with a right quad strain … Carter extended his club-record string of games with 20 or more points to 23, tying a personal high he reached twice while playing for the Toronto Raptors.

AP-ES-04-12-06 2204EDT