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76ers 87, Bucks 80

March 5, 1998

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Joe Smith had his best game since being dealt to the 76ers and Derrick Coleman had 19 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday night as Philadelphia defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 87-80.

Smith scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting with four rebounds in 26 minutes. Theo Ratliff added 13 points and seven rebounds for Philadelphia, which returned home after a four-game road trip.

Smith hadn’t scored more than 14 points since beaing traded to Philadelphia two weeks ago. He had a 2-for-10 shooting night against Indiana and was 1-for-12 against Denver.

Glenn Robinson had 21 points and eight rebounds, Tyrone Hill grabbed 18 rebounds, Ray Allen scored 17 points and Armon Gilliam added 14 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, as the Bucks lost their third in a row.

The Sixers won despite shooting 19-for-33 at the foul line. Coleman was 9-for-9, helping offset Allen Iverson’s 2-for-7 shooting and Smith’s 3-for-7 effort.

Gilliam was the offensive story for the Bucks in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of their first 12 points to pull Milwaukee within three, 72-69.

But Iverson, who scored just four points in the first three quarters, made a jump shot to extend Philadelphia’s lead to five with 5:18 left in the fourth quarter.

A jumper by Elliot Perry and a foul shot by Hill cut the lead to two, but Iverson scored the next four points to give Philadelphia a 78-72 advantage with 3:36 left.

Two free throws by Robinson puled the Bucks back within four, but Smith came back with a jumper to give the 76ers another six-point margin.

A layup by Iverson with 45 seconds remaining allowed Philadelphia to open up an 83-76 lead.

The Bucks struggled offensively in the third quarter, tying a season low by scoring eight points in the period and making just two field goals on nine attempts. The 76ers were able to overcome a four-point halftime deficit to pull ahead by six, 62-56, after three quarters.

The nine points were the fewest surrendered in a quarter by Philadelphia this season.

After Gilliam hit two free throws to open the fourth quarter, Scott Williams and Smith both scored on breakaway layups as the 76ers opened their biggest lead, 66-58, with 10:21 left.

Notes: Milwaukee was playing for the first time since Feb. 26 after a five-day layoff. ... The 76ers have struggled against Central Division teams, winning just six of 48 dating back to 1996-97. With its win over Milwaukee, Philadelphia is 3-16 against the Central this season.

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