Still struggling with his shooting following a knee injury,
Iverson scored 26 points -- his most in more than a month -- in
Philadelphia's 87-82 victory over Orlando on Monday night.
Iverson has only been back a week after sitting out 10 games
because of a bruised right knee. But he has a while to go to regain
his All-Star form.
"My rhythm is way off. I'm struggling," said Iverson, shooting
37 percent in five games since returning. "It's frustrating that
it's taking so long for my game to come back. But by being in the
league eight years, I've been through struggles and I know how to
play while struggling."
Philadelphia took control midway through the third quarter with
11 straight points to go up 68-60. Orlando's Keith Bogans stopped
the run with a jumper despite being knocked down, but Iverson
seized the momentum back with his lone 3-pointer of the night.
Iverson shot 9-for-29, 1-for-4 on 3-pointers, with seven assists
and six turnovers. The last time he topped 20 points was Dec. 5,
when he scored 35 in a victory in Miami.
The 76ers are 3-2 since Iverson returned.
"The games we lose, it hurts worse," Iverson said. "But in
the games that we win, I don't think about it."
Samuel Dalembert set career highs with 15 points and 11
rebounds. He fouled out late in the game, but only after his block
of Tracy McGrady's driving dunk with 2:54 remaining blunted
Dalembert, who blocked three shots, started because Derrick
Coleman missed his 12th game of the season with a left knee sprain.
"Samuel was great in terms of defending the rim," 76ers coach
Randy Ayers said.
The 76ers missed 14 of 17 shots in the fourth quarter, including
their last 10, with their final field goal coming on Dalembert's
jumper with 7:32 remaining. But they made eight of 10 late free
throws to hold off the Magic.
Orlando has lost seven of eight and missed a chance to move into
a tie with Atlanta for the league's worst record.
McGrady scored 32 points for Orlando, including 10 of the
Magic's 16 in the fourth quarter. He also had 10 rebounds.
Less than 17 seconds remained when Orlando closed within a
possession on McGrady's layup. But Snow hit two free throws and
McGrady missed a 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds to go.
McGrady missed all nine of his 3-point tries, shooting
"Shots were going in and out, good shots," McGrady said. "I'd
take those shots any game. It just wasn't our night on the
Bogans added 20 points, shooting 6-for-10 from the field and
6-of-6 from the line. He opened Orlando's scoring with a 3-pointer,
but the Magic shot 1-for-17 beyond the arc after that.
"I guess I had an 'on' game tonight," said Bogans, 2-for-5 on
3-pointers. "I made shots, but I can't speak for anybody else."
Orlando shot 36 percent -- 26.2 percent after halftime.
The 76ers jumped out to an early 11-point lead by making 11 of
their first 20 shots -- despite six misses from Iverson. Dalembert
made all four of his shots in the first quarter while grabbing
Philadelphia got no scoring from its bench until Greg
Buckner's free throw with 5.7 seconds left to play ... NBA
commissioner David Stern attended the game. Stern is in Florida for
a sporting goods show in Orlando and the league's marketing
meetings in Boca Raton. ... Philadelphia is 14-4 when holding
opponents 86 points or less. ... During a second-quarter break in
the action, McGrady amazed the crowd with a trick shot. He tossed
up a rainbow from behind the backboard that bounced off the top of
the glass before falling through the hoop.