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Korver sparks big third quarter as Sixers start 3-0

Nov 5, 2006 - 10:03 PM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) - Kyle Korver is in the zone, and the Philadelphia 76ers are benefiting.

Korver scored 13 of his 22 points off the bench in the decisive third quarter as the 76ers rallied for a 107-98 victory over the Miami Heat, who played without center Shaquille O'Neal.

Allen Iverson scored 31 points and handed out a season-high 13 assists for Philadelphia, which has started 3-0 for the first time since the 2000-01 edition won its first 10 games in a season that ended in the NBA Finals.

"We played three games. We won three games, so you know that has to be exciting for us," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Our whole focus is to continue trying to get better."

O'Neal, who scored 21 points Friday in a 91-85 victory over the New Jersey Nets, did not play due to a left knee contusion suffered in the second quarter of that contest. Alonzo Mourning started in his place and had six points, two rebounds and five fouls in 15 minutes.

"Not having Shaq in there changed our whole game plan. That was all there was to it," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "We don't go to (Mourning) as much. He's more of a defensive presence.

"We were a little bit surprised just prior to the game when (O'Neal) couldn't play. He bumped knees in New Jersey the other night. He tried to warm up and he told us at 1 p.m. that he couldn't go."

Korver shot 10-of-13 from the floor and made all four of his 3-point attempts in Friday's 105-103 triumph over Orlando, but the fourth-year sharpshooter saved a little something for the defending champions. He was 7-of-12 from the floor, including 5-of-6 from the arc, in 31 minutes.

"I've been getting open. A lot of that is the guys are setting great screens and Allen is looking for me," Korver said. "I've been able to get a good rhythm, hit my first couple shots the last couple games and that (has built) my confidence."

Miami held a 57-50 advantage at the half and stretched it to 11 twice before Korver sparked a 25-9 run that gave Philadelphia a 78-73 lead at the end of the third period.

"We are going to need Kyle to do a lot of things for us throughout the course of the season," Iverson said. "I think it is great how he has handled the responsibilities of being the sixth man and not worrying about being a starter. He already knows that's his role, this is what he is going to have to do and he has responded to it just like a professional has to do."

Korver tied the game at 71-71 with a 3-pointer - his ninth consecutive 3-pointer made over two games - and Andre Iguodala converted a three-point play. Korver capped the run with a jumper and two free throws.

Iguodala's second 3-pointer of the fourth quarter was followed by three free throws by Iverson, pushing the edge to 95-78 with 6:50 remaining.

"I thought we played the game extremely well for about 2 1/2 quarters and then we let it get away from us," Riley said. "In the middle of the third quarter, (the Sixers) went on a 28-10 run on us. Granted they were making a lot of their shots, but we just stopped moving the ball.

"We stopped doing the things that got us the lead. We lost our grip defensively and didn't close out hard on guys and it ends up in a loss."

Iguodala finished with a season-high 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Philadelphia, which shot 46 percent (36-of-79) from the floor and committed just eight turnovers.

"Dre just played well. He shot the ball when he had looks," Iverson said. "Usually he is kind of hesitant to let it go, but tonight he was aggressive."

Miami's Antoine Walker hit three consecutive 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 102-92 with just over three minutes to play before Iguodala made a free throw and a jumper, and Kevin Ollie hit from outside to push the lead back to 15.

Walker scored 23 points and hit 6-of-10 from the arc. Miami shot 50 percent (36-of-72) from the floor but made just 16-of-26 from the foul line, while Philadelphia converted 26-of-35 from the stripe.

Dwyane Wade had 20 points and 11 assists and Udonis Haslem had 17 and 16 rebounds for the Heat, who have lost two of their first three games.

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