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SIXERS GET BACK TO FEELING RIGHT AT HOME ON THE ROAD

Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers aren't the most welcome guests in NBA arenas.

Whether it's Iverson jawing with fans or hitting clutch jump shots, the league's best road team hasn't given opposing fans much to cheer about.

Iverson, still answering questions about his run-in with fans in Indiana, scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half to help Philadelphia beat the New York Knicks, 87-80, Thursday night.

The Sixers, who had a 13-game road winning streak snapped Tuesday in Toronto, moved 7 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Knicks in the Atlantic Division. Philadelphia is 21-5 on the road, surpassing last season's win total.

"This is the first real team I've been on in my life," Iverson said. "There are no egos, nobody cares who's shooting the ball, who has the name, who's the All-Star. It's all about one common goal: bringing a championship to Philadelphia."

And Iverson is the biggest reason why, despite his latest controversy.

On Sunday, Iverson was heard on NBC's broadcast in Indiana calling a fan a derogatory term for gays. He said he was responding to fans who called him a "monkey" and another racial slur.

"If you listen, you'll hear things way worse than what I said. But I'm Allen Iverson and I have an 'X' on my chest. I handled it the wrong way. I shouldn't have yelled back."

Allan Houston scored 27 points and Latrell Sprewell had 21 for the Knicks.

Around the rim

Terrell Brandon matched a season-high with 27 points as the Timberwolves recorded a 90-81 victory over the Cavaliers. Minnesota extended its club-record winning streak to nine games. . . . Clifford Robinson fired home a season-best 42 points for Phoenix but the Blazers got the best of the Suns, 100-92. Steve Smith scored 20 for Portland. . . . Michael Finley scored 26 points as the Mavericks beat the Heat, 95-91, in overtime and ended nearly a decade of domination by Miami. The Mavs had lost 16 straight to the Heat. . . . Lamar Odom scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half as the Clippers snapped their season-high nine-game losing streak by beating the Rockets, 101-84. . . . Karl Malone had 16 points and seven rebounds, passing the 13,000-rebound mark over his 16-year career as the Jazz beat the Hornets, 87-76. Donyell Marshall scored 20, John Stockton had 11 and Olden Polynice added 10 as Utah won for the sixth time in seven games. . . . Vin Baker scored 22 points as the Sonics beat the Bulls, 97-91, despite 30 points by Chicago's Ron Mercer.

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