Iverson pours in 34 in return as Sixers beat Cavs

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Allen Iverson went back to breaking his
opponents ankles.

Iverson scored 34 points with nine assists in his return to the
starting lineup and did what he almost always does against
Cleveland, leading the Philadelphia 76ers over the Cavaliers 100-95
on Saturday night.

Iverson, who has had some of his biggest games against the Cavs,
missed the previous four games with bad ankles. But all it took was
another game in Cleveland and a few patented crossover dribbles to
make the All-Star guard feel better.

"I was like a kid in a candy store," said Iverson, who added
five rebounds, four steals and made all 14 free throws in 46
minutes. "It felt like the first game of the season because I was
excited to be back."

Chris Webber added 26 points, hitting a key jumper in the final
minute, and Samuel Dalembert had 13 points and made a big block
down the stretch for the Sixers, who went 2-2 without Iverson.

LeBron James scored 31 points to lead the Cavaliers, who lost
their second straight following a seven-game winning streak.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 26 points and Drew Gooden added 18 points
and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 50 seconds left.

That's when Iverson, who came in averaging 32.1 points in 14
games in Cleveland, made a free throw to put the Sixers ahead
95-89. After a lane violation on his second attempt, the Sixers won
a jump ball and Webber iced it by drilling a 17-foot jumper with 30
seconds remaining.

"It wasn't a good effort by us," James said. "I guess we were
getting ready for the Super Bowl instead of worrying about the

As usual, Iverson sparked Philadelphia, which was playing the
second game of a back-to-back following a loss to Detroit on
Friday. The speedy guard, who changed sneakers early in the game,
showed no ill effects from a sprained left ankle or bone bruise in
his right ankle as he blazed up, down and around Cleveland's

"Once he got his rhythm, he was back doing the things that he
normally does," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "The impact he
has on the game itself is unreal."

Iverson, who came in second in the league in scoring, has
recorded at least 30 points in 10 of 11 games.

"He's very tough," said James, who asked Cavs coach Mike Brown
to let him guard Iverson in the fourth quarter. "He does so much
out there and he can get up a shot at any time."

The Sixers led by five points after three and were only up 83-79
when Webber and Iverson hit consecutive jumpers and Andre Iguodala
made two free throws to make it 89-80 with 5:37 left.

Cleveland was still within seven when Dalembert swatted an
inside shot by Gooden, who complained he was fouled. Iguodala
followed with a bucket to put the Sixers ahead 93-84.

The Cavs were in control early and led by 14 in the first half
when they got sloppy, turning the ball over and allowing the Sixers
to go on a 14-2 run to close within 52-50 at half.

"We can't make unforced turnovers," Brown said. "Those led to
easy baskets at the other end."

Cleveland had 11 turnovers in the second period, which ended
with Iverson biting his lip after thinking he got fouled on a
drive. The play came moments after he was slapped with a technical
foul by referee Bill Spooner, who didn't appreciate the way the
Sixers guard laughed at him after a call.

Game notes
Dalembert, the league leader in blocks, added five. ...
Cavs F Ira Newble spent his fifth day in the hospital with an
infection on his face. Brown visited Newble at the Cleveland Clinic
and reported that his face was still swollen but that Newble's
spirits were good. ... Brown is taking his family to the Super Bowl
on Sunday as guests of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who lives in the
Detroit area. Brown said he's picking Pittsburgh since his younger
brother, Anthony, played right tackle for the Steelers. ...
Philadelphia's trade of C Steven Hunter to New Orleans is on hold
after he reportedly failed his physical. Sixers assistant GM Tony
DiLeo said "doctors are still talking, that's the holdup." ...
Ilgauskas was thrilled to see he was quoted in this week's Sports
Illustrated. He was particularly happy about an accompanying photo
of him that showed he had spent time in the weight room. "Look at
those arms," he said.