The Philadelphia 76ers have made one thing clear this season: There are times during games when they can play heady, together, fearless basketball.
They did it again on Saturday night in their first meeting of the season against the New Jersey Nets, the consensus preseason pick to win the Atlantic Division title.
But on this occasion, the Sixers sustained their fine play better than in any game of the recent past and, behind 42 points by Allen Iverson, notched a 107-95 victory over the Nets before a crowd of 18,740 at Continental Airlines Arena.
The victory broke the Sixers' six-game road losing streak.
Iverson, who had 43 points on Friday night, fashioned back-to-back 40-point games for the second time this season. He shot 15 of 28 from the field and also contributed 12 assists while playing all the way until coach Maurice Cheeks took him out with 35.2 seconds remaining.
Kyle Korver sank 10 of 11 shots from the field - 5 of 6 from three-point range - and had his second straight strong game with 25 points. Chris Webber contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. The Sixers shot 56.9 percent on the night.
Unlike their last three games, when the Sixers watched big leads disappear as their offense faded, Saturday night's contest saw the Sixers take care of a substantial lead, in this case, 16 points.
The Sixers shot 62 percent from the field in the first three quarters and took an 84-69 lead. They boosted their advantage to 16, 88-72, on Iverson's jumper from the top of the key with 10 minutes, 37 seconds remaining.
They held a margin of 16 on three other occasions in the quarter, the last time on Iverson's jumper with 7:46 remaining that made the score 96-80. Now, the skeptics figured, the Nets have the Sixers right where they want them.
Well, New Jersey did make it interesting, scoring the next seven points to close to within 96-87 on Vince Carter's long jumper with 5:53 to play. A Carter three-pointer, the seventh straight possession in which the Nets scored, made it a 98-90 game with 5:14 to play.
But with the Sixers holding on to a 100-92 lead, Korver broke loose and drained a three-pointer with 2:15 to play to give the Sixers an 11-point margin, and the Nets managed just one basket the rest of the way. New Jersey shot 41.2 percent from the field.
Carter and Richard Jefferson each scored 26 points to lead the Nets.
Leading by 54-49 at the half, the Sixers not only kept up the offensive pressure against the Nets in the third quarter, but they sprinkled in one of their best defensive efforts in a while.
The Sixers scored on their first four possessions of the third, with Iverson's three-ball, his third of the game, boosting their advantage to 62-51. The Nets got as close as six points, 66-60, on Jeff McInnis' running bank shot with 5:23 remaining.
But the Sixers then spurted again behind the shooting of Iverson and Korver. Korver drained a three-ball to spark an 11-2 run that included a three-point bucket and two jumpers by Iverson. A free throw by Iverson ended the spurt with 2:08 to play and put the Sixers in front, 77-65.
Korver and Michael Bradley hit jumpers in the final minute of the quarter to match the Sixers' biggest lead of 15, 84-69, at the buzzer. The Sixers shot 63.2 percent in the quarter (12 of 19) and limited the Nets to 33.3 percent (8 of 24).
More important for the Sixers, they were doing a decent job on the boards, even though they managed only two offensive boards in the opening three quarters.
Iverson knocked down 8 of 13 shots from the field in the first half and scored 24 points to go with seven assists. Korver hit his first four attempts from the field - two from beyond the arc - and had all 13 of his first-quarter points in the opening 8-1/2 minutes.
The Sixers shot 57 percent from the field in the opening quarter and scored the last six points to take a 30-25 lead. An Iverson jumper, which came after he brought the crowd to its feet when he sent Jacque Vaughn to the court on a crossover move, sparked an 8-0 run that gave the Sixers a 38-29 lead with 8:42 left until halftime.
A replay, however, showed that Iverson stepped on Vaughn's toe as he went past him, which was the reason why Vaughn went down.
After Kevin Ollie's jumper put the Sixers ahead by nine, the visitors then went cold, scoring just one field goal in the next five minutes, and the Nets used a spurt of 10 consecutive points to take a 41-40 lead with 4:17 remaining on Jason Kidd's three-point basket.
But Iverson scored eight points in the last 2:36 of the half, including a jumper from the top of the key that marked the last hoop of the half, which ended with the Sixers up, 54-49.
Carter went to the bench with 2:45 left in the half after picking up his third personal foul. Coming off a season-high 38-point performance on Friday night at Cleveland, Carter finished the half with 15 points.
Samuel Dalembert also suffered through first-half foul trouble, managing just nine minutes on the court before going to the bench for good with 6:37 to play.
n Spurs streak snapped
The NBA's longest losing streak and second-longest winning streak came to unlikely ends Saturday when the Atlanta Hawks beat San Antonio 94-84 to deny the Spurs their best 20-game start in franchise history.
The Hawks snapped their seven-game losing streak, winning for only the third time this season and the first time since Nov. 25.
The Spurs saw their six-game winning streak end.
The defending NBA champion Spurs (16-4) were denied their first 17-3 start. They also were 16-4 after 20 games last season.
Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 22 points, and Zaza Pachulia added 19 points and 14 rebounds. Tony Parker led San Antonio with 20 points.
In other NBA action: Orlando 94, Denver 83; Chicago 118, Washington 111; Toronto 111, Charlotte 103; Minnesota 95, LA Lakers 82, Indiana 80, Memphis 66; Dallas 103, Boston 94; Milwaukee 111, Cleveland 106, Sacramento 123; Seattle 104; LA Clippers 101, Phoenix 91.