Postgame Report: Nuggets vs. Sixers - 12/7/09
December 7, 2009: Nuggets 93 Sixers 83
Sixers go cold in 4th in bittersweet loss
Billups scored 31 points and Carmelo Anthony had 14 to help the Nuggets spoil Iverson's return to Philadelphia with a 93-83 win over the 76ers on Monday night.
The Nuggets went on a 22-3 run over the third and fourth quarters to rally for their fourth straight win.
Iverson's rousing return did little to mask the fact that the Sixers are a lousy team. They've lost 10 straight, and only one-win New Jersey has a worse record in the Eastern Conference.
Iverson received a standing ovation when he left in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting and had six assists in 37 minutes.
Iverson bowed and kissed the logo at midcourt when he was introduced as the sellout crowd of 20,664 stood and roared in approval.
Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 31 points, Thaddeus Young had 21 and Samuel Dalembert grabbed 15 rebounds.
But this night for the Sixers was all about Iverson in his first game with the team since he was traded in 2006.
Iverson missed his first shot, a makable layup early in the first quarter. His first points came off a 4-footer he tossed up off a Dalembert miss.
Energized by the emotional pregame show, the 76ers played one of their strongest quarters of the season. Iguodala, who bristled at the end of Iverson's first tenure at being labeled ``AI2,'' scored 14 points to show this was still his team.
It's still Iverson's crowd.
The building hummed every time Iverson touched the ball, and each basket was cheered as if it were a playoff winner.
Iverson played sparingly in his three-game stint with Memphis and feared he'd be out of game shape for his debut. He played all but 1 second of the first quarter and sat out in the second half mostly because of three fouls by the middle of the third quarter.
Backed by 18 points from Iguodala and 10 from Thaddeus Young, the Sixers led 44-41 at the break.
They stretched that lead to nine when Iverson tossed a floater toward the basket that Dalembert slammed in for the alley-oop and had the Sixers feeling like their losing streak would be history.
Instead, only their lead evaporated.
Billups, traded from Detroit in last year's Iverson deal, showed why Denver was so eager to make the move. He sank a pair of 3s and worked his way to the free-throw line to score 13 points in the quarter and whittle the deficit to three.
Iverson was helpless in the fourth. Smith sank a pair of free throws to give Denver its first lead of the game, 67-65.
Billups and Smith each hit a 3 during a staggering 22-3 run that let the Nuggets take control of the game.
Billups nailed a late 3 for an 89-77 lead that sent the fans heading toward the exits.
The pregame show was worth the price of admission.
Iverson pulled in to the player's parking lot at 5:55 p.m., waving to fans who waited in the cold for a glimpse of one of the most polarizing athletes in Philadelphia's deep sports history.
He hit the court for warmups to the sound of fans screaming his name and holding ``Welcome Home'' signs. He took passes from his former 76ers backcourt teammate Aaron McKie, now an assistant coach.
He hit shot after shot to the delight of the crowd and broke out in a wide smile as they erupted in cheers.
Iverson always considered Philly home and dreamed of a return to the team he led to the 2001 NBA finals.
He just pictured a different outcome.
NOTES: Iguodala buried a 90-footer just after the buzzer to end the first half. It didn't count. ... The Sixers have lost 14 of 16. ... The Sixers had not sold out a game this season. ... Anthony was whistled for a technical in the third.
- With the win tonight, Denver has won three straight over Philly after the Sixers took two of the three games prior. The Nuggets have won four straight and seven of their last eight while the Sixers have dropped 10 in a row.
- Tonight marked just the fifth time this season (3-2 mark) that Denver has scored below 100 points. The Nuggets averaged 115.0 ppg in their previous eight games.
- The Sixers lost despite holding the Nuggets to an opponent season-low 39.2% shooting. Philly was 7-0 when holding opponents below 40.0% shooting. Denver entered tonight ranked fourth in the league in field goal percentage (48.2%) and Sixer opponents were shooting 49.0% in the nine games prior.
- Denver hit 11 3-pointers on 61.1% shooting. Sixer opponents have hit 10+ 3-pointers in four of the past five games and are averaging 8.4 3FGM over the past 11 games. Philly is 0-11 when opponents shoot 40.0% or better from behind-the-arc this season while Denver is 7-0 when having 8+ 3FGM and 7-0 when shooting 50.0% or better from downtown.
- Chauncey Billups shot 11-of-11 from the line tonight while the Sixers shot 8-of-9 as a team. Denver was 24-of-26 overall from the line. Sixer opponents have had as may or more FTM as Philly has had FTA in seven of the past 12 games after doing so just 10 times overall in 08-09.
- The Sixers had just 15 assists tonight and has recorded fewer than 20 assists in each of the past five games (16.2 apg) after having 20+ assists in each of the five games prior (22.4 apg).
- Philly never trailed during the first three quarters. Denver took its first lead at 67-65 with 10:53 left in the fourth and led by as many as 16 in the quarter. The Sixers are now 4-5 when leading after three quarters of play this season and 3-4 in games in which they led by double-digits.
- Allen Iverson made his season debut for the Sixers nearly three years to the day that last played for Philadelphia (12/6/06). He had 11 points, a team-high 6 assists and 5 rebounds in 38 minutes of play.
- Billups scored a game-high tying 31 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter. Philly has allowed an opposing player to score 30+ points in five of the past 10 games and six times overall this season.
- Andre Iguodala scored a game-high tying 31 points, 14 of which came in the first quarter. It marks his second 30-point effort of the season and the 12th of his career (Sixers 9-3 mark). Iguodala has scored 20+ points in five of the past seven games (23.1 ppg).
- Carmelo Anthony had just 14 points on 5-of-21 shooting tonight. He entered tonight leading the league in scoring with 30.4 ppg on 49.1% shooting. Tonight marked his first time scoring below 20 points this season.
- he Sixers recorded their first sellout of the season (20,664). Philly’s last sellout was on 4/10/09 vs. Cleveland (20,484).