Fri, May 16, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Atkins drives Pistons past 76ers

EASTERN CONFERENCE Practice your layups children. The Detroit guard gave his team a win and the lead in their semifinal series against hard-nosed Philadelphia

AP , AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGANAND NEW YORK

Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson reacts after a foul against the Detroit Pistons in the third quarter of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Wednesday. The Pistons won 78-77.

PHOTO: AP

Chucky Atkins' layup with less than a second remaining gave Detroit a 78-77 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday and a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The home team has won every game in the series and Game 6 is Friday night in Philadelphia. Game 7, if necessary, is Sunday at Detroit.

The Pistons have lost 14 of their last 15 playoff road games.

Allen Iverson missed a long shot as time expired to cap an awful shooting night. Iverson missed 20 of 25 shots and finished with 14 points, one more than his career playoff low.

Richard Hamilton had 20 points for Detroit, while Atkins scored 17 and Prince 13.

Derrick Coleman scored 23 points, Eric Snow had 16 and Aaron McKie added 10 for the 76ers.

Snow hit a 3-pointer with 9.4 seconds left to give the 76ers their only lead of the game, 77-76.

Atkins, who started in place of injured Chauncey Billups, took an inbounds pass with 3.7 seconds remaining and drove the right side for the winning shot that was in the basket when Coleman knocked it out from below with .9 seconds left.

The Sixers trailed by 14 points early in the game, and by as many as seven early in the third quarter.

"I was trying to make up for a few mistakes I made down the stretch," Atkins said. "If we want to win this series we have to eliminate mistakes."

Iverson was averaging 32.8 points in the playoffs, behind only Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant.

In his previous 10 playoff games, he had scored at least 22 points and led Philadelphia in scoring in each game. Iverson had scored at least 20 points in 22 straight postseason games.

Dave DeBusschere passes on

Hall of Famer Dave DeBusschere, a forward on two championship teams with the New York Knicks and also the youngest coach in league history, died Wednesday of a heart attack at 62.

The team, which announced his death, had no other details.

DeBusschere's exploits in the world of sports also included a stint as commissioner of the ABA and parts of two seasons as a major league pitcher with the Chicago White Sox in 1962-63.

But it was in basketball that DeBusschere excelled. He gave up baseball after two seasons and a 3-4 record in 36 games to concentrate on his NBA career.

By 1964, he was player-coach of the Detroit Pistons, becoming at age 24 the youngest to guide a team. He played six full seasons for the Pistons before being traded in 1968 to the Knicks.

In New York, the forward teamed with fellow Hall of Famers Walt Frazier, Willis Reed and Bill Bradley to win championships in 1970 and 1973.

DeBusschere was elected to the Hall in 1983 after playing 11 seasons in the NBA. In 1997, he was picked as one of the 50 greatest players in league history.

DeBusschere was picked for the NBA's All-Defensive team six straight years from 1969-1974. He retired after the 1973-1974 season with a career average of 16.1 points, plus totals of 9,618 rebounds, and 2,497 assists.

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