Redd, Bucks Deep Six Philly in Season Opener
Milwaukee 117, Philadelphia 108 (OT)
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 1 (Ticker) -- Everyone is wondering how long it will take Allen Iverson and Chris Webber to mesh. Michael Redd and T.J. Ford needed one game.
Redd and Ford combined to erase a seven-point deficit in the final 70 seconds of regulation and fuel an explosive overtime as the Milwaukee Bucks stunned Iverson, Webber and the Philadelphia 76ers, 117-108, in the season opener for both teams.
"We just cracked," Iverson said. "We had the game. We're not supposed to lose that one. I would rather get blown out than lose that one."
Redd scored 30 points, including the game-tying 3-pointer and six points in overtime. Ford had 16 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds in his first game in 20 months since a career-threatening spinal cord injury.
"It wasn't looking good for a minute but I was able to get the team under control and direct everybody," said Ford, who had not played since Febraury 24, 2004. "Don't forget that in his first year (in Milwaukee), he (Redd) was an All-Star. I'll take a little credit for that."
"It's amazing just how fast he is," Redd said. "He's just phenomenal. He puts so much pressure on the defense that it opens things up for us."
Iverson, a four-time scoring champion, and Webber, a versatile power forward, had not played together in the preseason as both nursed injuries. Their ability to share the ball and incorporate teammates is the key to success for the 76ers.
The two stars each took 28 shots and took turns dominating, with Iverson collecting 35 points and nine assists and Webber 32 and 14 rebounds. But neither could knock down a clinching shot in the final minute.
Iverson scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, helping Philadelphia build a 102-95 lead with just over a minute left in regulation. But two free throws by Redd and a driving layup by Ford got the Bucks within a possession.
After Webber missed a jumper, Ford weaved through the defense with his dribble as he looked for an open 3-point shooter. The Sixers did not foul, and he finally found one at the top of the circle in Redd, who tied it with 1.6 seconds to go.
"I had to give everybody a chance," Ford said. "I gave Bobby (Simmons) a look and he threw it back to me. I had a look and didn't take it. I found Mike and he made a tough shot."
"I love those shots and I was praying that it would go in," Reed said. "I was struggling with the three the whole night. Our team did a great job of staying in it the whole night. We never quit and it went in."
Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said his team didn't have a chance to foul, even though Ford dribbled through the lane twice.
"We though we had the game won and they continued to play," said Cheeks, who lost his debut with the team that retired his No. 10. "They got it to the guy they wanted to make the three. He shot it with a hand in his face. It was a back-breaker."
"I never thought about fouling in that situation," Iverson said. "He just made a great shot, he had a hand up in his face and he still made the shot."
The shot deflated the crowd at the Wachovia Center and swung the momentum to the Bucks, who rattled off nine straight points in overtime. Redd had a jumper and two free throws around a feed from Ford to rookie Andrew Bogut for a three-point play.
"We never really recovered from that shot," Cheeks said. "But, they kept us on our heels the whole night. Our defense wasn't up to par the whole night.
"This is big for us," Redd said. "We had just seven road wins all of last year. To get this one early says a lot about our team. Even though we we're down, we just kept saying, 'Stick together and we're going to win this game.'"
The top overall pick, Bogut had 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in his NBA debut. Free agent signee Bobby Simmons had 22 and 12 boards for the Bucks, who never led in the fourth quarter and never trailed in overtime.
"I had (Bogut) in most of the fourth quarter and overtime," said Bucks coach Terry Stotts, who won his debut with the team. "We were effective with him on the court. Right now he doesn't have to be an offensive force. We don't need him to feel like he has to score every time he touches it. I think he knows that."
Sixers forward Andre Iguodala shadowed Redd for most of the game but fouled out with 1:06 left in the fourth quarter. Redd scored 11 points thereafter.
Milwaukee did an acceptable job of containing Iverson, who lit up the Bucks for 45.3 points per game last season. Iverson made 11-of-28 shots and had a sloppy third quarter, when Philadelphia trailed for the first time.
An 11-4 surge capped by Webber's jump hook closed the third period and gave the Sixers a 74-73 lead. A 3-pointer and layup by Iverson around a garbage basket by Webber extended the advantage to 86-77 with 8:58 to go.