Nuggets-76ers Preview

Turns out the Denver Nuggets made the right move in trading

Allen Iverson. The 76ers, meanwhile, desperately need the former

All-Star to justify the second chance he is getting in

Philadelphia.

Iverson will start for the 76ers in his first home game at the

Wachovia Center in three years Monday night, facing one of his

former teams in the surging Nuggets.

Denver (15-5) thought it had the perfect complement for Carmelo

Anthony in its up-tempo offense when it acquired in Iverson from

Philadelphia on Dec. 19, 2006. The Nuggets, though, lost in the

first round of the playoffs two straight seasons with Iverson, then

traded him to Detroit as a part of a deal for Chauncey Billups on

Nov. 3, 2008.

While Billups sparked the Nuggets to 54 wins last season and has

been an essential part of their hot start in 2009-10, Iverson has

been a bench player for his last two teams.

The 34-year-old guard played most of last season with the

Pistons and complained about his reserve role. He had a similar

experience with Memphis before the team and Iverson decided to part

ways Nov. 16.

A 10-time All-Star, Iverson was brought back by the 76ers (5-15)

on Wednesday, signing a non-guaranteed deal after announcing his

intention to retire the previous week. Named league MVP en route to

leading the Sixers to the NBA finals in 2001, Iverson practiced

with the team Sunday and coach Eddie Jordan said he will start this

game.

“I told him for 14 years I heard how you hate coming out of the

game. Now they’re telling me you’ve got to get him out if he’s

tired,” Jordan said at Monday’s shootaround, laughing. “He’s

going to tell me. The first time I’m coaching Allen Iverson, I am

not taking him out until he tells me.”

Philadelphia needs all the help it can get. The 76ers have lost

nine straight for the first time since a 12-game skid from Nov.

25-Dec. 20, 2006, which was snapped three days after trading

Iverson.

The Sixers are coming off a 106-105 loss to Charlotte on

Saturday night. Andre Iguodala had 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven

assists despite turning his right ankle in the first half. He is

not listed on Philadelphia’s injury report.

Willie Green, who had 26 points, isn’t expected to miss any time

after an X-ray on his right hand after the game showed only a

bruise.

Iverson will likely start in place of Green, who had been

playing point guard alongside Iguodala in the backcourt due to

Louis Williams’ broken jaw. Williams will be out for a couple of

months, while Jrue Holiday, who started five games after Williams

was injured, is day to day with a strained right rotator cuff.

Thaddeus Young, starting at forward along with Elton Brand, will

likely be matched up with Carmelo Anthony for most of this game.

Anthony, averaging an NBA-best 30.4 points, has a chance to become

the only player to score at least 20 points in the first 21 games

of a season since Iverson did it with Philadelphia at the start of

2005-06.

Anthony had 34 points in a 106-99 win over San Antonio on

Saturday night. He has helped the Nuggets win three straight and

seven of eight.

Denver is averaging 110.6 points on the season and 115.0 over

its last eight contests.

Billups averaged 24.0 points and 7.5 assists to lead Denver to

wins in its two games against Philadelphia last season. The Nuggets

won three of their last four road matchups with the Sixers.