INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Close again, but no victory for the vibrant Philadelphia 76ers.
The Sixers staged another strong final-minute rally Wednesday night, but when Allen Iverson’s poor shooting night ended appropriately _ with an airball _ all they had was another close loss, 85-82 to the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Now the 76ers trail 2-0 headed to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4.
Like in Game 1 when they cut a 13-point deficit to two before losing, the Sixers used their young legs and tough defense to put themselves in position to win after trailing by 17.
Iverson, who suffered through a 7-for-28 shooting night, passed the ball in the closing seconds to teammate Larry Hughes, whose potential 3-pointer was long. Matt Geiger tipped the ball back out, and all Iverson could do was manage an awkward attempt as the buzzer sounded.
Indiana’s Rik Smits finally found his offense for the Pacers, scoring 25 points. Iverson led the Sixers with 23 _ 13 in the final period.