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Iverson's 27 points, 14 assists not enough

2/18/2004

DENVER (AP) -- Allen Iverson didn't take his removal from
Philadelphia's starting lineup lightly, and he let everyone know
how he felt about 76ers interim coach Chris Ford.

"I was angry all day from the shootaround on," Iverson said.
"Going in there and having a meeting and being with some guy that
I don't really know, telling me that I wasn't going to start and
what I have to do for us to be successful ...

"I was just upset about being here eight years and somebody
being here for one game and benching me."

The star guard expressed his displeasure with Ford after
Philadelphia lost to the Denver Nuggets 106-85 Tuesday night behind
28 points from Carmelo Anthony.

Iverson, who missed Monday's practice and was held out of the
starting lineup by Ford, led the 76ers with 27 points and a
season-high 14 assists. He entered the game with 4:39 left in the
first quarter and played 36 minutes overall.

"The relationship between us goes out the window," said
Iverson, the NBA's leading scorer. "I told him why I couldn't make
it, and it wasn't enough."

Iverson said his plane was delayed after he played in the
All-Star game in Los Angeles.

"The most frustrating thing was hearing him say he felt like I
didn't have respect for my teammates and that they don't have
respect for me, and that they feel like I don't bring it every
day," Iverson said. "A coach has never, ever questioned whether I
brung it every day.

"I sat there and cheered the guys on, and when I got my
opportunity I came in and played the way I always play, and that is
hard.

"I don't have to be his friend, I don't have to speak to him. I
can play for him, though. I can play hard for him and I can do
exactly what he wants me to do, night in and night out. I
definitely will do that. But as far as having a relationship with
him outside of basketball, that's done from Day One."

Ford, named head coach on Feb. 10, coached his second game with
the Sixers on Tuesday.

Ford didn't respond to Iverson's remarks, saying before the game
he was benching Iverson for an unexcused absence from practice.

Anthony, meanwhile, scored nine points in a pivotal third
quarter as the Nuggets posted their third straight win.

Nene added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who
outscored the 76ers 49-31 in the second half.

"We began the second half the way we ended before the All-Star
break," Anthony said. "This game was one to see where we were at
as a team, mentally and physically. Tonight we showed we've
improved over the first half of the season."

Kenny Thomas had 17 points and 16 rebounds for Philadelphia,
which had 21 turnovers.

Denver, which led 57-54 at halftime, jumped out to a
double-digit lead early in the third quarter.

Anthony scored nine of Denver's first 17 points in the quarter,
capped by a fastbreak slam dunk, as the Nuggets took a 74-63 lead
midway through the period. Anthony also had a rebound slam dunk and
a scoop shot in the lane during that surge.

Anthony's back-to-back rebound baskets in the fourth quarter
gave Denver a 91-74 lead with 6:35 remaining, and Philadelphia got
no closer than 13 points after that.

Nene and Voshon Lenard each had eight points in the first
quarter, and Denver outshot Philadelphia 65 percent to 38 percent
en route to a 32-19 lead.

Lenard's 30-foot jumper barely beat the shot clock and put the
Nuggets up 22-10. Anthony's two free throws gave the Nuggets their
biggest lead of the quarter, 27-12.

In a second quarter filled with spurts, the 76ers started the
period with a 17-4 run, including seven points by Iverson, to
produce a 36-36 tie with 7:06 left in the period. Eric Snow's
three-point play gave the 76ers their first lead of the game,
43-42.

Denver countered with a 15-2 surge, mostly on layups and slam
dunks, and Anthony's dunk on a pass from Marcus Camby made it
57-45. But Philadelphia scored the last nine points of the quarter,
including Iverson's three-point play, to cut the halftime deficit
to 57-54.

Philadelphia shot 71 percent and scored 35 points in the
quarter.

Game notes
Camby returned after missing the previous two games with a
strained left hamstring. ... Ford is 1-1 since being named interim
head coach on Feb. 10. ... Denver is nine games over .500 for the
first time since Jan. 4, 1990. ... The Nuggets won the previous
meeting this season, 86-77 in Philadelphia. ... The Sixers lost
their fifth straight on the road.