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New Orleans 99, Philadelphia 85

NEW ORLEANS, April 26 (UPI) -- Baron Davis scored 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and Jerome Moiso added 10 in the final period Saturday night as the New Orleans Hornets pulled away for a 99-85 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.

The Hornets cut the 76ers' lead in the best-of-seven series to two games to one.

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After missing Game 2 with a bruised knee, Davis looked a step slow for most of the contest, missing 10 straight shots during one stretch. But he was almost unstoppable when it counted, making six of 10 in the final 12 minutes.

"My mode was to attack and get my teammates to get into that attack mode," he said. "There's still some things I can't do. If I can go out and play and be active like I was tonight, then I'm happy. It's the playoffs. Play as hard as you can and worry about it the next day."

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The Hornets played without leading scorer Jamal Mashburn, who is sidelined with a dislocated finger. P.J.Brown and Jamaal Magloire combined for 35 points to pick up the slack, but neither scored in the fourth as Moiso took over.

"Those guys were down 2-0 and they've got an All-Star player sitting over there on the side in street clothes," Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson said. "The love of the game just came out for those guys. They just showed a lot of heart and a lot of character by being able to just fight and being able to win a game without somebody (like Mashburn)."

Moiso, who averaged just 4.0 points in 51 games during the regular season, made his first five shots in the quarter as the Hornets pulled away. He also had five of his seven rebounds and blocked a layup by Iverson in the fourth.

"I got on the weak side and nobody paid attention to me a few times," Moiso said. "I got in a good groove and it just came from that."

"He came in with a lot of energy. It lets (the Sixers) know that he's going to go and get everything," Davis said. "He did an excellent job of coming in and being active and being ready. It was a great performance."

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The Hornets acquired Moiso in a trade with the Sixers on Oct. 25, 2001. He never played a game with Philadelphia as he was traded just three months after he was acquired from the Boston Celtics.

"I was kind of wondering what was going on the first two games," said Moiso, who didn't play in either of the first two contests. "I just had to stay with it. The guys stayed on me and kept me in a good mood. I'm just going to try to stay ready and do it all the time. When they call my number, I just try to do the same thing."

New Orleans had a 73-71 lead with just under 10 minutes left in the game before reeling off 15 consecutive points. Moiso scored four points during the burst and Davis had seven, capping it with a layup for an 88-73 cushion with 6:07 left.

The Hornets keyed the run with defense as they had four steals in a span of 89 seconds. The Sixers committed six of their 16 turnovers in the fourth quarter, leading to 11 points for New Orleans.

The Hornets' run ended when Moiso was called for goaltending on a layup by Iverson. But he got the points back on the other end, burying a turnaround jumper over Philadelphia's Keith Van Horn.

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"As long as he continues to do what he does, we'll do very well in this series," Davis said. "He's a force, offensively and defensively. We need that."

Brown grabbed 12 rebounds, former Sixer George Lynch had 11 and Magloire added nine for the Hornets, who held a 51-33 advantage on the boards. They collected 21 offensive rebounds leading to 26 points.

"They just outhustled us tonight. That was it," Iverson said. "You can't win if a team offensive rebounds the ball like that. Those guys just outhustled us tonight. They just wanted it more."

Iverson scored 28 points while hitting only 10 of 29 shots.

"This thing is a series now," Philadelphia Coach Larry Brown said. "We took care of our home court and then they came in here and played like they did. We have to learn from this."

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