7:00 PM ET, January 2, 2007
Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
DENVER (AP) -- Allen Iverson took plenty of shots at his former team, before, during and after the game. It didn't add up to a win, though.
|Philadelphia teams have done pretty well when their stars are out of the picture in 2006-07. Here's a look:|
|Allen Iverson, 76ers (traded 12/19)||5-18||4-4|
|Bobby Abreu, Phils (traded 7/30)||47-54||38-23|
|Donovan McNabb, Eagles (hurt 11/19)||5-5||5-1|
Iverson scored 30 points on 10-of-24 shooting before getting tossed for his second technical with 1:44 remaining. Afterward, he said the loss disappointed him because he feels the Nuggets are the better team.
Iverson's best shots, however, came before tip-off when he again ripped the team that traded him to Denver over the holidays, repeating his contention that he should have had more say in the Sixers' style.
Iverson also saved a parting shot for official Steve Javie, who ejected him.
"I thought I got fouled on that play, and I said I thought that he was calling the game personal, and he threw me out," Iverson said. "His fuse is real short anyway, and I should have known that I couldn't say anything anyway. It's been something personal with me and him since I got in the league. This was just the perfect game for him to try and make me look bad."
Actually, Iverson didn't need much help in that regard as he was slow to get going, hitting just two of nine shots and committing three of his game-high seven turnovers in the first quarter.
"I thought he was a little excited with the turnovers early in the first half and then not being able to make shots, not only he but everybody," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "That got Philadelphia their legs, their confidence."
Ironically, Iverson found himself crediting the Sixers for their game plan.
"I couldn't get a rhythm in the beginning of the game. When I found it and got into a little groove, it was too late," Iverson said. "If anybody knows what I can do, they know, and they ran some people at me. They used the zone, and it was effective."
The Sixers, who had lost 14 of 16 road games and 19 of their last 23 overall, scored 100 points for the first time in 16 games and improved to 4-4 since the trade that sent Joe Smith and Andre Miller to Philadelphia, along with two first-round draft picks in 2007, for Iverson.
Miller had 17 points and 10 assists against his former team and Smith scored 12 points.
"This was all business," Smith said.
Ditto for Miller.
"I got a lump in my throat when the crowd reacted" with applause during introductions, Miller said. "Other than that, it was all business for me."
Karl always counted Miller among his favorite pupils and said he "kind of knew Andre was going to have a great game. He's going to make some guys on that team a lot better. I can see he and Korver already have a connection."
Allen Iverson scored 30 points in his first game against his former team, but the 76ers defeated the Nuggets 108-97 at Denver. Of the 16 other players who eventually faced a team for which they had won an NBA scoring title, only three scored 30 or more points in their first meeting: Dominique Wilkins, 36 vs. Hawks (Mar. 25, 1994); George Yardley, 33 vs. Pistons (Feb. 22, 1959); and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 30 vs. Bucks (Oct. 28, 1975).
But Iverson is the first former NBA scoring champion in 28 years to lose his first game against the team with which he won the scoring title. The last to do so was Rick Barry with the Rockets against the Warriors in 1978.
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Iverson doesn't have that yet in Denver, where he's lost four of six and has yet to play with NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, the league's top scoring tandem before their suspensions for slugging it out with the New York Knicks last month.
The Sixers, who led by 19 in the second quarter before the Nuggets rallied to tie it at 52 at halftime, led 86-73 after three quarters.
Iverson's seven straight points brought Denver to 86-80 but Steven Hunter's dunk followed by three free throws by Korver -- one on Iverson's first technical -- restored Philadelphia's double-digit lead.
Rookie Yakhouba Diawara was the only bright spot for Denver, scoring a season-best 23 points on the heels of an 0-for-11 shooting performance against Dallas.
After the morning shootaround, Iverson said he felt a player of his stature and tenure should have been listened to when he criticized the Sixers' style of play last month, a condemnation that led to his departure from Philadelphia after 10 tumultuous seasons.
"When you're losing basketball games, 12 of 14, 18 of 20 basketball games, you should listen to somebody because something obviously isn't working," he said.
Iverson said he was still bitter with the way Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks and team owner Billy King handled his complaints that led to his departure from Philadelphia.
"Honestly I hope it goes away, but every time we play the Sixers, I know it is going to come back," Iverson said. "I just want to be a Denver Nugget and not dwell on things that happened in Philadelphia. I owe it to my teammates to just play basketball. I was frustrated tonight because I didn't play as well as I can play."
Iverson won't get to face the Sixers in Philadelphia this season because the Nuggets made their annual trip there before the trade. ... Nuggets G Julius Hodge played the final minute, his first action since being shot in a drive-by last April.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||41-90 (.456)||33-85 (.388)|
|3PM-3PA||2-8 (.250)||10-29 (.345)|
|FTM-FTA||24-30 (.800)||21-30 (.700)|
|Fast Break Points||15||23|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||22 (0/0)||21 (2/0)|