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Iverson returns, but Sixers fall flat

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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - scored a season-high 24 points off the bench, as the Milwaukee spoiled 's return with an 88-76 victory over Philadelphia at the Wachovia Center. Iverson had missed 10 straight games with a swollen right knee, but his return to the lineup didn't spark a stagnant squad that never led during the game.

added 14 points for the , who have won three straight and six of their last eight. Kukoc was one of four former Sixers who contributed for Milwaukee: added 11 points, chipped in 10 points, and scored six with nine rebounds.

Iverson led Philadelphia with 18 points, but he shot just 6-of-18 from the field and barely played in the fourth quarter.

"I was just rusty, and it wasn't expected," Iverson said. "I really didn't think I was going to play the game that I played. I thought I was going to play a lot better."

added 12 points on a 4-of-7 performance from three-point territory, as the Sixers were unable to sustain the momentum of a big win in San Antonio Saturday night.

This one wasn't even close.

Milwaukee dominated from the opening tip off and never trailed in the game, jumping out to an 11-point advantage midway through the first quarter when Thomas' bucket made it a 15-4 game.

Sixers head coach Randy Ayers is worried about his team's frequent slow starts, and spoke about it after the game.

"Maybe if push comes to shove, you have to shake up the lineup a little bit just to get some energy into the game early," Ayers said. "But it is a concern of ours because it's been too many times now that we've done this."

Philadelphia cut its deficit to five at one point, when 's jumper to open the second quarter capped an 11-4 burst by the Sixers, but the weren't phased.

Milwaukee followed that Philly spurt with a 16-5 scoring run, pulling out to a 41-25 lead with eight minutes remaining before the break. The then carried a 57-40 cushion into the locker room behind Mason's 17 first-half points.

The Sixers were led by Iverson and , who combined to go 5-of-15 from the field for seven points apiece. Iverson missed his first six shots of the game and was just 2-of-9 shooting for Philadelphia, which was a dreadful 38-percent from the floor in the opening 24 minutes.

Milwaukee led by as many as 20 points twice in the second half, the last time coming when made it 79-59 with 7:43 remaining in the game. The Sixers only made it respectable down the stretch.

"I'm concerned about the way we played tonight," Iverson said. "We couldn't stop anybody. Our chemistry wasn't there on both ends of the floor."

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