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Bucks dodge front bumper of Pacers

Posted: Tuesday, May 02, 2000

MILWAUKEE -- Ray Allen wanted the Milwaukee Bucks to remember this feeling for three more days.

Allen scored 20 points before taking a blow to the head, and reserve Scott Williams added another 20 as the hot-shooting Bucks routed the Indiana Pacers 100-87 Monday night in Game 4 of their best-of-five series.

Game 5 is Thursday night at Conseco Fieldhouse, where the Bucks already have won twice this season.

In the jubilant Bucks locker room, Allen said Milwaukee's biggest task is to somehow maintain the mental focus that turned Game 4 into a laugher. For a team that plays on momentum as much as the young Bucks, that's no simple task.

''There's no reason for us to drop back now,'' Allen said. ''We've got to keep charging. People didn't think we'd be here, but we are. I'll just tell everybody to remember on Thursday that this is a team we can beat.''

Milwaukee, which needed a desperate late-season charge to even make the playoffs, is hoping to become the third No. 8 seed to upset a top-seeded team. When Denver upset Seattle in 1994 and the Knicks beat the Heat last year, both eighth-seeded teams won on the road in a fifth game.

''They had us on our heels all night,'' said Indiana coach Larry Bird, who would be coaching his final game if the Bucks manage a victory in Game 5. ''It was like a snowball effect, and we could never get it stopped. Yeah, it's disappointing, but we've got to move forward.''

In grand style, Milwaukee won a home playoff game for the first time since May 1, 1990 -- the last year they got out of the first round.

The Bucks shot 64 percent in the first half and led by double digits throughout the final three quarters. Milwaukee was up by 31 points in the third quarter before coasting to its third blowout win over the Pacers in the last two months.

''We're in their heads, believe me,'' Milwaukee's Darvin Ham said. ''They can hear us coming. They'd better turn around.''

They were led by inspired efforts from Allen, Sam Cassell and Glenn Robinson. For the first time, Milwaukee's Big Three played up to its enormous potential in a critical postseason game.

Cassell scored just six points, but had a career playoff high 13 assists while running the Bucks' fluid offense to perfection. Robinson had nine of his 18 points in the third quarter as the Bucks kept the blowout going.

''Tonight we passed the ball with a freedom we haven't had all year,'' Milwaukee coach George Karl said. ''I've said, 'Trust the pass, believe in the pass' four million different ways this year.''

Allen left the game and needed four stitches after Rose inadvertently hit him while rebounding with 1:24 left in the third quarter. The injury wasn't serious, and Allen had only a small cut that neatly bisected his right eyebrow.

Yet another scorching start put the Bucks in control early. Shooting 73 percent in the game's first 18 minutes, Milwaukee led by 25 points early in the second quarter and was up 64-37 at halftime.

Reggie Miller, whose 34 points turned the game in Indiana's favor in Game 3 at the Bradley Center, had trouble finding shots Monday night. He finished with 15 points, but went several minutes at a time without taking a shot.

''I felt we came out focused, but you've got to credit Milwaukee,'' Miller said. ''They did everything right, and we did everything wrong. Tonight, Milwaukee had all the answers.''

76ers 105, Hornets 99

PHIILADELPHIA -- Aaron McKie picked a good night to have the best game of his career.

McKie, starting in place of the injured Eric Snow, hit four consecutive 3-pointers and scored 13 straight points midway through the fourth quarter as the Philadelphia 76ers beat Charlotte 105-99 Monday night to win their first-round series 3-1.

Philadelphia plays the winner of the Milwaukee-Indiana series in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

McKie scored a career playoff high 25 points and had 11 assists. Allen Iverson, playing with a chip fracture in his right ankle and an inflamed right elbow, scored 26. Matt Geiger came off the bench to score 17 and grab 10 rebounds.

After Charlotte took its biggest lead, 85-77, in the first minute of the fourth period, McKie took over. He nailed consecutive 3-pointers from the wing to cut it to 85-83.

Elden Campbell's jumper made it 87-83, but McKie tied the game by hitting another 3 and making a free throw to complete a four-point play. After Campbell sank a pair of free throws, McKie gave the Sixers the lead for good, 90-89, with a 3-pointer from near the top of the circle.

Then it was Iverson's turn. He scored seven straight points on a driving layup, a 3-pointer and baseline jumper to give the 76ers a 101-95 lead with 3:09 left.

After the jumper, Iverson cupped his ear and circled the floor, encouraging the raucous sellout crowd of 20,712 to make more noise.

Charlotte did not get closer than four points the rest of the game.

Anthony Mason and Derrick Coleman each scored 21 points to lead Charlotte.

Snow missed his second straight game with a chip fracture in his right ankle. The 76ers struggled without their floor leader in Game 3, but McKie made sure the offense stayed in rhythm Monday.

McKie shot 9-of-15, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. He did not commit a turnover in 36 minutes. The Sixers committed just eight turnovers.

Reserve Kevin Ollie, who played two minutes in the first two games, played 16 minutes and had six points and four assists.

McKie, who held Eddie Jones to 18 points in Game 3, limited him to 17 on Monday. He held Jones to just three shots in the first half.

Iverson, who injured his ankle in Game 3, was questionable, though he insisted he would play. He aggravated his injured elbow on a driving layup at the end of the second quarter that gave the Sixers a 54-50 halftime lead.

Iverson grimaced and jumped up and down while holding his elbow as he walked off the court. He wore extra padding on it in the second half. He finished 10-of-23 and had seven assists.

Charlotte tied the game at 62 after a 10-2 run midway through the third. The Hornets scored six straight points on dunks, including two by Coleman and one by Jones.

Charlotte scored 11 of its last 15 points in the third quarter on free throws to take a 79-75 lead. The Hornets hit 20 of their first 22 foul shots and finished 23-of-28 at the line.

The Sixers started well, hitting their first six shots. George Lynch, who was scoreless in Game 3, had four points in the first two minutes.

Mason, held without a field goal in Game 3 by Lynch and Toni Kukoc, hit his first shot and had seven in the first quarter.

Philadelphia opened with a 12-5 run and ended the first quarter with a 12-2 run to take a 30-25 lead.

Notes: Coleman, a former 76er who was booed unmercifully, missed a pair of free throws late in the game that would have cut Charlotte's deficit to 99-97. ... Former Sixers assistant coach John Calipari sat courtside. Calipari left the team in March to accept the head coaching position at Memphis. ... The Sixers had their 12th sellout of the season. ... Geiger, booed throughout the season, was cheered loudly when he entered the game in the third quarter. He had 11 points and six rebounds in the second quarter.



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