Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News quotes Charles Barkley -- also an outspoken former Sixer who returned to play against his longtime former team -- on Allen Iverson's homecoming to Philadelphia:
Barkley wanted out because he felt he didn't have enough help, because he didn't see a solid chance to win. Iverson, although he never said it publicly, had to feel similarly.
"He can't be happy," Barkley said. "He said he had no help. Now he has a lot of help, but the results are the same."
That was Barkley's way of saying that the Nuggets, at 40-27, are scrambling to try to qualify for the postseason in the remarkably stacked Western Conference.
The Sixers, for now, are the No. 7 seed in the weaker East and threatening to move up, driven by Miller, Andre Iguodala and the patient, steadying style of coach Maurice Cheeks. Iverson and Cheeks had a fine relationship when Cheeks was a Sixers assistant, but it deteriorated in the early portion of '06-07. They haven't spoken since the trade.
Jasner notes that Barkley's first time back, he was greeted with a 42-second standing ovation. I'm quite certain Philly fans can exceed that for Iverson. Sixer fans can't quit that guy.
And the feeling is mutual. As Jasner reports, after losing to the Pistons last night, Iverson said:
"I've been trying to focus on what we're doing right now, but I'm not going to lie to you, I knew I had to go back, and I knew what the date was on the calendar."
Also, you notice that it almost kind of seems like the Sixers are seen as more successful than the Nuggets? (Here's an investigation of which team got the better of the Iverson trade.) The 33-34 Sixers having the moral high ground on the 40-27 Nuggets is one of the best cases I have seen for some kind of rebalancing of who makes the playoffs.