76ers 116, Kings 106
Although not the prolific scorer he was in his earlier years
with the Philadelphia 76ers, Allen Iverson is still a difference
The 34-year-old Iverson showed he still can score, getting 11 of
his 20 points in the third quarter. And his presence alone was a
factor as the 76ers pulled away in the final period for a 116-106
victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
Lou Williams scored 22 points and Andre Iguodala had 19 points,
nine assists and seven rebounds for the 76ers. Both Williams and
Iguodala scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, when the 76ers
stretched the lead to double digits. Iguodala said part of the
credit belongs to Iverson.
“He has helped us out a lot, he really opens the floor for
everybody when he’s out there,” Iguodala said. “He still draws a
lot of attention and teams can’t key on myself or anyone
Iverson is not happy about being limited to 28-30 minutes a
game, which are recommended by the team’s medical staff to come in
shorter increments due to his arthritic right knee. He missed four
recent games with a sore knee, but played 32 minutes against the
Kings in his second game back, making 6-of-14 shots and adding five
rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“All my life I’ve been watching him play and to have the
opportunity to play him was fun,” said Kings guard Sergio
Rodriguez, who was matched up against Iverson at times. “He showed
that he can still play and he can play well. He looked great.”
Iverson was at his best in the third quarter, when the 76ers
took the lead for good and went into the fourth ahead 79-76. He had
11 points, scoring on a variety of shots, including a 3-pointer
that put Philadelphia in front 72-70.
“It’s important for me to do whatever I can to help the guys
and give them confidence that we can win games,” Iverson said. “I
was telling them when we were down 13 in the first quarter to stay
with it, and make them believe we could come back.” Even with
Iverson on the bench for less than five minutes in the fourth
quarter, that confidence was evident. The 76ers spread the court,
moved the ball effectively, and repeatedly made perimeter shots
when they built the lead to double digits in putting together
back-to-back wins for the first time since Oct. 30-31.
Rodney Carney and Elton Brand scored 14 points apiece for the
76ers. who connected on 9-of-16 3-pointers.
“Allen gives us another dimension, guys are really playing off
him,” 76ers coach Eddie Jordan said. “Lou Williams got it going,
and Carney came off the bench and did a great job. All our guys
played well in their roles.”
Donte Greene and Omri Casspi each scored 21 points for the
Kings, who have lost three of their last four home games. But
unlike the previous losses, overtime affairs to Cleveland the
Lakers, this loss came against a team that entered the game with
only eight wins. Jason Thompson had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and
Rodriguez also scored 15 points.
“We were ripe to be picked off tonight and we need to learn
that we are not as good as people say we are,” said Kings coach
Paul Westphal, whose team defeated Denver on Monday. “Sometimes
you have to not only bounce back from tough losses but you have to
bounce back from big wins.”
The Kings played their second straight game without rookie guard
Tyreke Evans, who is nursing a sore ankle and is day to day. Beno
Udrih played a rare poor game in his place, shooting 3 of 11,
scoring nine points, and committing three turnovers.
“Tyreke is a big piece of our team and he’s been showing that
the whole year,” Udrih said. “But we can’t feel sorry for
ourselves. Injuries are a part of the game and you deal with
Carney opened the fourth quarter with a pair of 3-pointers, and
a jumper by Williams gave the 76ers a 90-81 advantage with 9:40
remaining. With the Kings missing open looks throughout the period,
the 76ers’ lead grew to 107-95 when Iguodala made a follow shot
with 3:34 left.
The Kings squandered an 11-point lead after one quarter and were
outscored 33-22 in the second. The aggressive inside play of Brand,
who scored 11 points, helped fuel the 76ers’ comeback. Casspi had
11 points for the Kings.
NOTES: In the offseason, Jordan was an early candidate for the
Kings head coaching job, but took the offer from Philadelphia
instead of waiting for the Kings to end their search, which
resulted in the hiring of Westphal. … Carney scored 12 points in
his first 10 minutes off the bench, all of them coming via four
3-pointers. … Iverson entered the game 1 for 3 this season in
3-point attempts, but made both attempts against the Kings.