Iverson, a three-time scoring champion, missed Sunday's game
with a sore right knee, although he said he was available to
play after missing the previous three games. However, Iverson
was insulted that Ford told him he would have to come off the
bench instead of start.
"I could have played 48 minutes," Iverson said after Sunday's
loss at Detroit. "I have never had problems with my
conditioning before. For a coach to say that he thinks my
conditioning isn't there, that was something new for me.
Because nobody never told me that, nobody questioned my
conditioning or injuries or anything like that."
"I wasn't comfortable putting him out there in the starting
lineup," Ford said. "He's yet to scrimmage in the full-court
yet and if you look at the number of days he's been out, it's
quite a few. I was concerned that if he would go out there and
try to play, that we could now lose him for another five games
down the road. I want to see him get out there and compete and
go up and down in a scrimmage first."
Without their superstar guard, the Sixers got little from Eric
Snow and Aaron McKie in Sunday's 85-69 loss at Detroit. The duo
combined to shoot 4-of-16 from the field as Philadelphia had a
four-game winning streak stopped.
Iverson played every game last season but has played just 45
this season. His presence would help Philadelphia, which is two
games behind New York and Miami for the final playoff spot in
the Eastern Conference.
The top eight teams make the playoffs and Philadelphia has
qualified in each of the previous five seasons.
The Grizzlies are headed for their first playoff appearance and
can clinch their first winning season. They are sixth in the
Western Conference, one game behind Dallas.
Memphis has won 16 of its last 20 games but had a seven-game
winning streak snapped with an 88-80 loss at Houston.
Reserve Stromile Swift scored 19 points to pace Memphis, which
shot just 39 percent (32-of-82) and 1-of-15 from the arc.
Memphis improved to 4-12 all time vs. the 76ers with a 91-87 win
at Philadelphia on January 17 as Mike Miller hit a running
layup with 36 seconds to play.