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Wednesday, February 4, 2004
Updated: February 5, 12:45 PM ET
Iverson shows frustration after loss

ESPN.com news services

Allen Iverson lashed out again at the struggling 76ers on Tuesday -- but refused to blame coach Randy Ayers.

Following a 93-80 loss to the Raptors, Iverson questioned the effort of his teammates.

"We don't play with no heart, we don't take a challenge," Iverson told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Guys don't take pride and compete. At some point, it should be embarrassing to you. At some point, your pride takes over, and you want to get up into somebody and guard him. You want to make sure your man doesn't hurt the team.

"But we're not playing with no heart. We're not playing with no pride. Nobody out there is taking a challenge like they should, and it's sad. We've been a good team for six years. Then this year, we don't have a sense of urgency. We see that we're down in the standings, not in the playoffs right now, trying to fight uphill, and we're not taking the challenge."

At 20-29, the Sixers have fallen to 10th in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They have lost two in a row and nine of their last 11, and may not make the playoffs under first-year coach Ayers.

Iverson first called his team's heart into question after Sunday's loss to Minnesota during which the Sixers blew an 18-point lead, according to the newspaper.

"I probably talked as loud as I've talked after a game," he said.

"I didn't get on one person, but I talked as a team. I just felt that we have to get tougher than how we're playing. And that's the bad thing about it. It's not even about X's and O's now. It's about toughness. It has nothing to do with offense. We're scoring points. We're just not stopping anybody."

He told the newspaper he would not single out players, saying, "I would never do that in a million years because I have to be around them, I have to live with them."

"I'm waiting for everybody" to get angry, he said. "It's personal pride. It's your ego as a player and as a competitor, and as a person. As a person, you always have to have pride in yourself. You always have to feel like whatever you do in life, you're going to try to do it better than anybody, to the best of your ability.

"It's not being done right now. Honestly, it hurts real bad because I'm not used to this... . It just doesn't seem like we have any sense of urgency. I don't see that dog in us that we've had in previous years. It's frustrating. It's hard to sleep."

As for acquiring new players through trades, Iverson told the paper, "We need something."

Iverson also said the coach was not to blame for the team's problems.

"We have a lot of trust in Randy's ability," he told the newspaper. "We believe he can get it done. I believe in him. I know he can coach. But I mean, you can't put that on a coach. He doesn't go out there and play, not one minute of the game. He can only do so much."