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Randolph's last-second layup helps Blazers edge Sixers

Dec 12, 2006 - 2:54 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Zach Randolph reminded the Philadelphia 76ers what it's like to have a go-to guy.

Randolph scored on a driving layup with 2.4 seconds remaining as the Portland Trail Blazers escaped with an ugly 81-79 victory over the 76ers, whose losing streak reached eight games.

Philadelphia played its third straight contest without superstar Allen Iverson, who was deactivated after requesting a trade last week. The four-time scoring champion and former MVP reportedly could be dealt as early as Tuesday.

With Iverson missing in action, the 76ers did not get much from Chris Webber, who scored only nine points on 2-of-9 shooting. He did not make an impact until tying the game at 79-79 on a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left.

After a timeout, Portland went right to Randolph, who scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter. The southpaw caught the ball at the top of the arc, drove around Alan Henderson to his left and dropped in the decisive basket without much opposition.

"All the guys have been playing great and stepping it up," Randolph said. "I want the ball in the end. I want the ball in the clutch and coach Nate McMillan knows this, so he gave it to me."

Philadelphia, without any timeouts remaining, pushed the ball to Andre Iguodala, but his heave from just inside half-court hit off the backboard.

Iguodala matched a career high with 27 points but had only three in the final period. Kyle Korver added 10 points for the Sixers, who shot just 37 percent (26-of-69) and committed 20 turnovers.

"We're going through a transition period right now, but we have to speed the process up, though," Iguodala said. "We can't wait to see how long it takes us for each guy to get comfortable. We have to do it as fast as possible."

Despite playing through foul trouble for much of the game, Randolph made 6-of-13 shots and also pulled down 10 rebounds. Juan Dixon contributed 17 points and Ime Udoka 12 for the Trail Blazers, who have won back-to-back games for the first time since November 8-10.

"(Consecutive wins) are real important for us," Randolph said. "It was a real confidence booster because the hardest place to win is on the road. We just have to take this home and win games at home."

With the game tied at 61-61 with less than eight minutes remaining, Henderson dropped in a layup to ignite a 7-2 run in which he scored all of the Sixers' points. His three-point play capped the burst with 6:08 remaining.

Randolph responded with four free throws around a spinning layup, drawing Portland within 72-69 with 3:02 left.

"Late in the fourth quarter, we were up five or seven and Zach would come down and make a couple of quick plays," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Obviously it's a disappointing loss, but we're going to take a lot of positives from this game."

Iguodala threw down a sweeping dunk 11 seconds later to give Philadelphia a five-point advantage and, after Jarrett Jack answered with a tough runner, Korver seemingly gave the momentum right back to the 76ers with a jumper with 2:09 to go.

But Udoka drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing and Dixon banked home a runner to forge a 76-76 tie with 1:18 remaining. Randolph split a pair of free throws to put Portland ahead and, after a turnover by the 76ers, Dixon knocked down a pair of foul shots to give the Blazers a 79-76 edge with 20 seconds left.

"It was an ugly win," McMillan said. "We couldn't score a point, but our defense kept us in the game. It held long enough for us to get some breaks and make some plays. We didn't give up tonight and we kept fighting."

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