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NBA conference semifinals continue

  |   May 14, 2003 at 3:37 PM
DETROIT, May 14 (UPI) -- Philadelphia and Detroit, even at two games each, play Game Five Wednesday night in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The home team has won every game thus far. Star guard Allen Iverson of the 76ers is looking forward to playing again at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Iverson admitted he "let one slip away" in Game Two, when he missed two free throws with 15 seconds left in regulation of a 104-97 overtime loss at Detroit. He rebounded to lead his team to back-to-back wins over the weekend, totaling 61 points and 22 assists.

However, he's still thinking about those two missed free throws which preceded the tying basket by rookie Tayshaun Prince in the final seconds of regulation.

"I think I can get the bad taste out of my mouth if we can win the series," Iverson said. "I am definitely looking forward to going back to Detroit and trying to make up for what happened the last time I was there."

Detroit Coach Rick Carlisle has used a variety of defenders on Iverson, who had 36 points and 11 assists in Game Four. Richard Hamilton did most of the chasing of Iverson, and led the Pistons with 30 points.

The 76ers also got major contributions from Derrick Coleman and Kenny Thomas, who again outplayed Ben Wallace and Clifford Robinson inside in Game Four.

Coleman had 14 points and 15 rebounds, and Thomas added 14 points. Wallace grabbed 15 rebounds, but scored just seven points, and Robinson finished with five points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups returned Sunday after missing two games with a sprained left ankle, but was a non-factor, missing 5-of-6 shots in 23 minutes.

The Sixers have injury problems of their own.

Philadelphia point guard Eric Snow has been playing with an injured right foot, and reserve forward Tyrone Hill will miss the rest of the series with a torn right calf muscle.

Game Six is Friday at Philadelphia. The series winner gets the second-seeded New Jersey Nets, who completed a sweep of sixth-seeded Boston with a 105-99 double-overtime win on Monday.

San Antonio and Dallas both won pivotal Game Fives of their Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday, taking 3-2 leads.

The top-seeded Spurs wasted a 25-point lead and escaped the Los Angeles Lakers, 96-94, when a three-point jumper by Lakers forward Robert Horry, one of the best clutch shooters in this era, in the closing seconds went in and out.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks, who are not known for their defense, held Sacramento to a paltry 10 points, a franchise-low, in a pivotal third quarter, and wiped out the Kings, 112-93.

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