PHILADELPHIA, April 20 (UPI) -- Allen Iverson scored a team playoff-record 55 points Sunday night as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the New Orleans Hornets, 98-90, in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
The NBA saw some superlative performances over the opening weekend of the playoffs, but the best came in the last game.
Iverson shot 21 of 32, including nine of 11 in the fourth quarter, and 10 of 11 from the line to surpass his own playoff record of 54 points set in a 97-92 triumph over Toronto in Game 2 of the 2001 conference semifinals. It was the sixth-highest total in NBA playoff history and three points shy of Iverson's personal best.
In a game during which his teammates were almost entirely shut down by the Hornets, Iverson stepped up time and again.
After George Lynch made a baseline jumper to get New Orleans within 86-84 with 4:05 remaining, Iverson countered with back-to-back three-pointers to help the 76ers hang on.
New Orleans got within 94-90 on a pair of free throws by Jamal Mashburn with 52 seconds left, but Iverson -- who scored 20 points in the final 12 minutes -- responded 15 seconds later with an arching scoop shot over P.J. Brown.
Eric Snow capped the scoring with a pair of free throws with 17 seconds to play. Snow added 15 points and 10 assists and Aaron McKie scored 12 points for the 76ers, who lost the season series with the Hornets, 2-1.
Mashburn scored 28 points to pace New Orleans, which fell behind for good, 70-68, on a three-pointer by Iverson that closed the third quarter.