PHILADELPHIA -- Although victories rarely make team owners angry, Philadelphia owner Harold Katz was fuming after the 76ers beat the Golden State Warriors 117-113.
What appeared to make him so angry was the 13-point (99-86) lead the Sixers lost in the fourth quarter, and their need to scramble to recover for their sixth win in 11 starts.
'If they can be happy with themselves, they're only fooling themselves,' said Katz in the locker room after the game.'This was a real tainted victory.
'I don't like what I see,' said Katz, speaking in clipped sentences. 'We're playing slow motion basketball. We're not pressing.'
Katz said the Sixers' lackluster style was having its effect on fans. He noted that the noisiest fans were a group of 20 people that came down from New York to see former St. John's star Chris Mullin play for the Warriors.
'I'm not saying it's Matty's fault,' Katz said, referring to Coach Matt Guokas. 'I'm just not happy with the team. They know it. They'll hear from me. I'm not sure when.'
Charles Barkley, who scored 22 points, including the final four, was not happy with the chastising.
'Why doesn't he coach the team?' said Barkley. 'We don't need people to tell us we're playing bad. We know we're playing bad and we need support more than anything. It seems like everyone is cutting us up. It's like spitting on a man when he's down.'
Veteran Julius Erving, however, said he wasn't worried.
'He owns the team and he has the right to say what he wants. Harold's a very emotional person. He's in to every game he watches and he has things he wants to see. Obviously tonight was not one of the things he wanted to see.'
Guokas said the Sixers must learn how to nail down victories.
'You almost come to expect this kind of let down from us,' Goukas said. 'We can't seem to put somebody away once we build a lead.'
The Sixers were ahead 56-54 at the half and led by nine points at the end of the third period. But with 23 seconds to go, Eric Floyd, who had 27 points, put the Warriors, 7-7, ahead 113-111.
Malone, who finished with 28 points, tied it with 11 seconds left, but missed a free throw. Barkley took the rebound and was fouled, made two free throws to make it 115-113, then dunked the final basket with a second left.
The Warriors, playing without starting center Joe Barry Carroll, were helpless against stopping Malone.
'Without Joe Barry Carroll inside we were forced to make some adjustments,' Golden State coach John Bach said. 'What it came down to was a reserve center (Jerome Whitehead) and backup forward (Peter Verhoeven) playing against one of the league's best big men.'
Purvis Short scored 24 points and Mullin 17 for the Warriors.