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Sixers Look to Snap Longest Skid in Decade, Visit Mavericks
Posted Dec 15 2006 4:28PM
There's been a couple of constants for the Philadelphia 76ers over the past few weeks: They can't seem to trade Allen Iverson and they can't win a game.
With Iverson's future still in doubt, the 76ers look to snap their longest losing streak in 10 years when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
Iverson, the 2001 NBA MVP and the face of the franchise for 11 seasons, has been on the trading block for the past week. Sixers chairman Ed Snider said the team will deal the 6-foot point guard, who leads the 76ers with 31.2 points and 7.3 assists per game this season.
While many teams have been rumored to be interested in making a deal for Iverson, including Dallas (15-7), there have been no takers for him yet.
Players and coaches for the 76ers (5-16) insist the trade rumors haven't affected their focus, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Philadelphia has lost nine straight and is 2-16 since winning the first three games of the season.
It's the longest losing streak for the Sixers since they dropped 13 in a row from Dec. 28, 1996-Jan. 20, 1997, Iverson's rookie year.
``It's like I told the players in there; this is new to me,'' Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. ``It's a challenge for myself and it's certainly a challenge for the players. Everyday there's something new and this is a new challenge. It's a new challenge to stay and motivate these players.''
The latest defeat for the Sixers was a 101-81 home loss to Boston on Wednesday that ended with fans booing the team as it walked off the court. Philadelphia shot 39.7 percent, the second consecutive game it was held under 40 percent.
``I look on the bright side. Everybody is keeping their head up, everybody is still positive,'' guard Willie Green said. ``We have to go out the next game and act like nothing happened and try to win. It is definitely difficult.''
Things don't figure to get any easier for Philadelphia during this brief two-game road trip. The Sixers, who have lost eight straight on the road and are 2-10 away from home, visit San Antonio on Saturday.
Dallas bounced back from a 22-point loss in Utah on Monday to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 110-101 at home on Wednesday. The Mavericks got 29 points from Josh Howard and shot a season-high 60.0 percent from the field.
``We came out tonight very focused,'' guard Jason Terry said. ``They played last night, so we felt if we could extend them to the fourth quarter and put together some runs that we could put them away.''
Dirk Nowitzki just missed his first career triple-double. He finished with 23 points, a season-high 14 rebounds and matched his career high with eight assists.
The Mavericks have split their last six games following a 12-game winning streak, but have won nine of their last 10 at home after an 0-2 start there.
Dallas and Philadelphia have split their last six meetings, but the Mavericks have won three of four at home. Iverson has shot 46.8 percent against Dallas in 15 career games, his highest percentage against any team.
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