Thursday, May 31

Brown: 'It was a remarkable performance'
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – Eric Snow limped into the First Union Center on a fractured ankle, traded his designer suit for a uniform and put his name among some legendary performers.

Eric Snow

Hours after learning he had another fracture in his surgically-repaired right ankle, Snow scored 18 points, including two crucial baskets in the final minutes, as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 89-88 Wednesday to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Snow's teammates still can't believe he even played, let alone won the game.

"You are Willis Reed junior," Dikembe Mutombo told Snow after he finished speaking to reporters Thursday.

Sixers coach Larry Brown actually has played the video of Reed hobbling out of the tunnel to play in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals for his team.

An injured Reed came out of the dressing room after warmups and hit the first two shots of the game for the New York in what became a runaway victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Before Wednesday's game, Brown also popped in a tape of Kirk Gibson limping out to hit a game-winning homer for the Los Angeles Dodgers against Oakland's Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

"You understand what coach is trying to get across," Snow said. "Basically, he's saying, 'By any means necessary.'

"A lot of the younger guys didn't realize they were the only two shots Willis Reed made, but it was such an emotional lift for the team and the fans, maybe it gets more out of everybody else. I can't be compared to Willis Reed."

Snow had a pin inserted into his right ankle in December, missed 32 games and has been hampered by the injury ever since. During the conference semifinals, Snow's ankle limited his effectiveness to the point he told coaches to bench him.

Snow then sustained a new fracture on the inside part of the ankle when he stepped on Sam Cassell's foot late in the first half of Game 4 on Monday.

A surgeon and the team doctor told Snow he risks breaking the screw or further displacing the fracture by playing. Against his wife's wishes, Snow did it anyway.

"My wife still is upset with me," Snow said. "She said I didn't tell her the whole truth. She talked to the doctors after the game and I worded it a little wrong. She said 'Good game,' but that was over quick."

Snow, who scored 20 points in the first four games of the series, shot 7-of-9 Wednesday, nearly duplicating his series output in one game. He wore a protective boot on the foot Thursday and said his status for the remainder of the playoffs will be made before each game.

"It was a remarkable performance under the circumstances," Brown said. "I think everybody on the team respected him for just going out there and playing and then to have the impact on the game that he had was remarkable when you consider that he took the responsibility for the third game solely on his shoulders which I didn't buy that."

With Allen Iverson sidelined by a badly bruised tailbone, Snow played 40 minutes in Philadelphia's 80-74 loss in Game 3. He shot just 1-of-11, missed four free throws and scored four points.

But his performance in the Game 5 helped overcome a 5-for-27 shooting night by Iverson, who still is bothered by the tailbone injury.

"It's a matter of heart," said Mutombo, who is playing with a broken pinkie. "These guys have goals and determination. They know where they want to go and where they want to be. They don't care regardless of what's happened to them."

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