Three-point explosion baffles Sixers

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

Donyell Marshall thought he had broken the NBA record for three-pointers in a game.

Of course, he thought it was 10.

"I'm still stuck in the past," Marshall said. "I don't really keep up. The last one I heard was 10, so I actually thought I broke it. I didn't know I had tied it.

"All I know is, my teammates kept telling me to shoot it. They said, 'Whatever play we run, we're going to look for you in the corner.' "

Indeed, the Raptors kept looking for Marshall in the corner, over and over and over again.

By the end of the proceedings yesterday, Marshall had tied Kobe Bryant's NBA record for three-pointers in a game with 12, and the Raptors had set an NBA record for three-pointers in a game with 21 in a stunning 128-110 victory over the visiting Philadelphia 76ers.

Of course, the number 3 always takes centre stage when the 76ers come to town. That is the number worn by Allen Iverson, the explosive Sixers guard who has saved many of his best games for the Raptors.

But last night a different kind of three came to the fore. Every time Iverson looked up, a basketball was soaring over his head.

"If somebody hits that many three-pointers in the same spot, eventually you have to adjust to it," said Iverson, who scored 32 points but had to watch Marshall score 38. "We kept playing it the same way and they kept kicking our butt with the same play. It's a bad feeling."

The Sixers made a big trade to acquire Chris Webber from the Sacramento Kings just before the trade deadline, but the move has not paid immediate dividends. The Sixers are 4-5 with Webber in the lineup and are fighting for their playoff lives.

After seeing what the Raptors did to his club yesterday, Iverson was asked if he's starting to doubt if the Sixers' defensive system can work.

Iverson laughed -- not in a "that's funny" way -- but in a "I know what you're getting at but I don't want to go there" way.

"If I don't believe it can work, there's no need in me going out there on the court," Iverson said. "Basically, I know what question you're asking me, and I hear you 100%. But you have to be able to adjust.

"What did (Marshall) have, 12 threes? It's like deja vu. I mean, come on now. How can they keep getting the same shot, in the same spot, in the same rhythm?"

Webber and his old college buddy Jalen Rose of the Raptors both acknowledged they had a conversation early in the game about how hot Marshall was.

But there was a minor disagreement on who said what.

"It's funny because I said something to Jalen in the first quarter, that if we give (Marshall) all these open looks, he's going to set a record," Webber said.

"I promise you on everything in my life I said that."

Rose's version:

"We were at the free-throw line, and after Donyell knocked down three or four, I said, 'If you don't get out there and check him, he's going to break the record.' Then (Webber) said, 'I guess you're right.' "

Damn Michigan guys. Never can get their stories straight.

Anyway, the point is, Marshall was on fire.

It was as if he woke up in a cold sweat yesterday morning and said to himself, "Oh my lord, there are only 20 games left in the season and I'm going to be a free agent!"

Late in the game the crowd at the Air Canada Centre was chanting, "Donyell, Donyell, Donyell." It probably won't be enough to get Marshall to re-sign here, but for one night at least, love was in the air.

PLAYSTATION

As Marshall talked about his accomplishment, he was asked what his record is for points on PlayStation.

"I don't play PlayStation, my kids do that," Marshall said.

"But if I ever do play PlayStation, I'm going to score a lot, because I'm the only person on the team who's going to shoot."

Hmmm ... as far as the Sixers were concerned, it almost seemed that way last night.


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