LOS ANGELES f(AP)—The Philadelphia 76ers lost six games this season on game-winning shots in the final 5 seconds, including buzzer-beaters by Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris. So how nice it was to celebrate a last-second winner.
Andre Iguodala beat the final buzzer with a 3-pointer to finish with 25, and the 76ers overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun the Los Angeles Lakers 94-93 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory. Fifteen of Philadelphia’s 34 wins have been decided by six points or fewer.
“We cleared it out for Andre and gave him the option,” interim coach Tony DiLeo said. “He could have drove to the basket, he could pitch for a 3, but he said coming out: `I’m going to win the game.’ So he knew what he was going to do, and he did it.
“This was a great win for us. I can’t think of a better one. It shows the resiliency of the team.”
The Sixers were trailing 78-67 when DiLeo put in little-used forward Donyell Marshall for the first time, hoping he could provide the same spark he did in Sunday’s 85-77 win over Miami, when he scored 10 fourth-quarter points—his first since Feb. 17.
The 14-year veteran drained a 3-pointer 19 seconds later, igniting a 20-2 blitz that turned Philadelphia’s 12-point deficit into an 86-80 lead with 5:24 to play. Marshall capped the rally with another 3-pointer, then hit his third 3 of the game to put the Sixers back in front 91-89 with 2:22 left.
“You never know when your name is going to be called,” Marshall said. “I work out all the time with the strength and conditioning coach. Even though I haven’t been playing much, I still get some side stuff in.”
Pau Gasol hit two free throws for the Lakers with 1:39 to go, and Kobe Bryant—who scored 11 points during a foul-plagued 33 minutes—hit a 23-footer over Iguodala for a 93-91 lead after missing his previous five shots.
Following a timeout, Andre Miller inbounded to Iguodala, who was covered loosely by Trevor Ariza before connecting from the top of the key.
“Hats off to him. He’s an extremely talented player, and I think the world of him,” Bryant said. “We spent a great deal of time talking in the summer, and I was happy with the way he played. He had a good look at it and he knocked it down. In hindsight, we should have taken the foul”
Lakers coach Phil Jackson concurred.
“I don’t know if Trevor fully understood when I said we had a foul to use, because he did not use it,” Jackson said. “We don’t like to use a foul, especially when they catch and shoot. But when you handle the ball—and he took his time—then it’s time to use it.”
Bryant’s season low is 10 points, on Feb. 17 during a 96-83 win against Atlanta in which no Laker scored more than 15. The two-time scoring champ, who was 5-for-15 against Philadelphia, has missed 10 or more shots in 12 of the Lakers’ 14 losses.
The Lakers were ahead 59-58 when Bryant tried to set a screen for Ariza and was called for an offensive foul with 6:52 left in the third quarter. That was Bryant’s fourth of the game, and the reigning MVP didn’t report back in until the start of the fourth period.
“We did a good job of containing Kobe,” DiLeo said. “I know he had some foul problems and had to sit out a little more than he usually does, but Andre did a great job of defending Kobe. It’s a great way to start a road trip.”
The Lakers outscored Philadelphia 10-0 over the final 3:03 of the third quarter to pull ahead 73-62, and Jordan Farmar’s 3-pointer gave Los Angeles its biggest lead, 76-62, 16 seconds into the final period.
Gasol had 25 points for the defending Western Conference champion Lakers (53-14), who slipped a full game behind Cleveland for the NBA’s best record with 15 games remaining. Bryant failed to go to the free throw line for the fourth time this season, and this was the first time the Lakers lost when that happened.
The Sixers missed 10 of their first 11 shots while Los Angeles opened the game with a 12-2 run. But the Lakers were plagued by foul problems the rest of the half, leaving the floor at halftime tied 50-50 after squandering an early 11-point lead.
Farmar, the first player off the Los Angeles bench, picked up three fouls in his first 3:46 on the court and spent the final 10 minutes of the half on the bench wearing a towel around his neck. Bryant got his third foul with exactly 4 minutes left in the second quarter and the score tied at 40.
Gasol, 10-for-10 from the field in the first half of Sunday’s game, was 6-for-7 before halftime against Philadelphia. His rejection of Lou Williams’ layup with 26 seconds left in the second quarter extended his streak to a season-best seven straight games with at least one blocked shot.
The defeat was the Lakers’ first at home since their double-overtime loss to Charlotte on Jan. 27. They are 30-5 at Staples Center. … The 76ers had dropped eight of their previous nine against the Lakers at Staples Center. They are 20-48 against teams coached by Phil Jackson, including a 3-12 mark in the playoffs. … Bryant, who attended Philadelphia’s Lower Merion High School, is averaging 22.9 points and 46.5 percent from the field in 24 career games against his hometown team. His high-point game against them is 48, on Jan. 6, 2006, when he made all seven 3-point shots in a 119-93 win after serving a two-game suspension. … Miller, who turns 33 Thursday, played in his 513th consecutive game—the NBA’s longest active streak.