PHILADELPHIA, March 23 (Ticker) --
Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia
76ers had the defending NBA champions looking tired and hurt.
Iverson had 39 points and 10 assists as the hot-shooting 76ers
rode a quick start and sent a message in an easy 107-84 victory
over the Detroit Pistons.
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Rookie Andre Iguodala had a triple-double for Philadelphia,
which shot 54 percent (41-of-76) from the field as it took total
advantage of depleted Detroit. The Pistons were without
injured leading scorer Richard Hamilton and coming off Tuesday's
loss in Cleveland.
Playing the first 46 minutes, Iverson started at his usual
breakneck pace, which the Pistons could not match. The NBA
scoring leader made 15-of-26 shots and five steals, falling just
shy of his 58th career 40-point game.
The Sixers made their first eight shots as they bolted to an
18-6 lead. They held a 31-17 lead after one period and built it
to 60-38 at halftime behind 24 points by Iverson, who had as
many first-half baskets - 10 - as the Pistons.
Detroit closed to 66-55 early in the third quarter before Chris
Webber made a pair of jumpers to trigger a 12-2 run that gave
Philadelphia control for good. Webber scored 19 points.
With the outcome well in hand during a timeout in the fourth
quarter, TV microphones picked up Sixers coach Jim O'Brien
exhorting his team to pour it on and deliver a message to the
Pistons, whom they lost to in the first three meetings of the
season and could meet in the first round of the playoffs.
Iguodala was re-inserted to get the rebound he needed to
complete his first career triple-double. The athletic swingman
from Arizona finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists
and four steals.
The Sixers (33-34) made 10-of-17 3-pointers and collected 15
steals as they moved one game ahead of Orlando for eighth place
in the Eastern Conference.
With Hamilton missing his second straight game due to a sprained
ankle, Detroit shot under 26 percent (10-of-39) in the first
half and 38 percent (28-of-74) overall.
More alarming, however, was the Pistons' lack of defensive
intensity. They were run ragged by Philadelphia's fast break
and repeatedly beaten to loose balls.