PHILADELPHIA -- Allen Iverson stood at the 3-point line, looked Ray Allen squarely in the eye and proceeded to bury the Bucks.
Iverson's 3-pointer with 1:10 left hit nothing but net and the Philadelphia 76ers, getting 34 points from Iverson, held off Milwaukee 93-85 Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Unlike their first two series when they lost Game 1, the Sixers emerged with their homecourt advantage intact.
The score was 87-83 when Iverson made the biggest shot of the game as he stood isolated against Allen on the right side of the floor. The dead-on 3-pointer gave the Sixers a seven-point lead after they had let a 16-point advantage dwindle to two.
Iverson scored 16 points in the second quarter and finished 13-for-35 from the field despite a bruised hip and buttocks that slowed him early and contributed to him missing his first nine shots.
Aaron McKie added 23 points and Dikembe Mutombo had 15 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks, giving the Sixers a "Big Three" of their own that could more than stand up to Milwaukee's Allen, Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell.
Allen finished with 31 points for the Bucks and Cassell had 20, but Robinson struggled through a 1-for-10 first half and finished with 15.
The Sixers controlled the boards, played more intense defense and held Milwaukee more than 14 points below its playoff average. The series resumes Thursday night with Game 2.
Philadelphia scored 38 points in the paint, including 22 in the second quarter when it outscored Milwaukee 32-16 to take control of the game. The Sixers grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and came up with nine steals as they never let Milwaukee come all the way back.
The Bucks had to have an inkling that it wasn't going to be their night when the first quarter ended in a 19-19 tie despite Iverson's 0-for-9 shooting, which included a missed layup and an airball just before the buzzer.
McKie had a steal and dunk for a 34-29 lead, and Iverson ripped some padding out from under the back of his waistband and tossed it aside as the teams came out of a timeout early in the second quarter.
He proceeded to hit his next four shots as the 76ers closed the first half with a 26-10 run - including the final 10 points of the quarter - for a 51-35 lead.
Milwaukee pulled within 10 early in the third before Iverson discovered another burst of energy, racing ahead of the field for a fast-break layup off a steal by McKie. Cassell drew a technical foul for arguing that a foul should have been called, and Iverson made the free throw and then hit a 3-pointer to make it 59-43.
The Bucks responded with a 12-0 run as Allen repeatedly found enough space to get off his jumper, but they only pulled within four, 59-55, before Iverson ended the run with a mid-range jumper.
Philadelphia led 70-63 entering the fourth, and the lead grew to 12 before Allen re-entered the game after sitting out the first four minutes of the quarter. Allen hit his first shot and completed a three-point play, and his 3-pointer off an offensive rebound made it 85-80 with 2:38 left.
Eric Snow missed a jumper and Cassell hit three free throws to make it 85-83 with 1:59 left, but Iverson drove the lane and was fouled. He made both free throws after Ervin Johnson was called for a lane violation, and Robinson missed a shot over McKie before Iverson hit his clutch 3-pointer with 1:10 left.
Matt Geiger, who sat out the final six games of the second-round series against Toronto because of soreness in his knee and leg, played 12 minutes and had two points and four rebounds. ... Tim Thomas (nine points) was the only Milwaukee reserve to score. ... Jumaine Jones played excellent defense on Robinson in the first half, contributing to Robinson's 1-for-10 start. ... The Bucks have never won an Eastern Conference title. They went to the NBA Finals in 1970 and 1974 as Western Conference champions.
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