PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Allen Iverson hasn't changed the aggressive
way he plays, even with a shift this year to point guard.
Coach Jim O'Brien wouldn't want it any other way.
"I don't want him to have a set-up point guard mentality,"
O'Brien said. "You can't tell a guy like Allen to go away from
The Sixers have won the first three games on a season-long
five-game homestand, though this was the first one they wrapped up
After sending a game against New Jersey into overtime on a
basket in the final seconds, then winning a game against Indiana
with a shot at the buzzer, Iverson finished this one off early.
He had five assists in the third quarter, including two straight
on baskets to Jackson and Andre Iguodala, that snapped a tie game
and led a decisive 17-9 run.
Iverson shook off tendinitis in his left Achilles' tendon and
didn't seem bothered by a sore left arm hurt after he slammed into
the base of the basket late in the third quarter.
An MRI on the ankle Saturday revealed the tendinitis.
"It bothered me throughout the game," he said. "I tried to
keep it as loose as I could."
It never showed on the court.
O'Brien and Iverson decided during the summer a position switch
was necessary to turn Philadelphia into more of an up-tempo,
wide-open offense -- while keeping the five-time All-Star a scoring
"I'm going to score, that's what I do," he said. "I'd be
taking something away from my team if I didn't look to score."
Grant Hill led the Magic with 18 points, Pat Garrity added 14
and No. 1 draft pick Dwight Howard had 14 rebounds. Steve Francis,
who came in averaging 20.8 points on 42 percent shooting, scored 14
Former Saint Joseph's standout Jameer Nelson scored two points
in 16 minutes for the Magic.
Nelson certainly wasn't forgotten by the fans who made it sound
like a Saint Joseph's game at Hawk Hill whenever he had the ball.
With fans chanting Nelson's name during pregame warmups, the
little guard got a standing ovation when he entered the game late
in the first quarter. Iverson slapped him on the back and shook his
hand, but Nelson offered no reaction to the wild applause.
Francis fed Nelson a crisp pass in the lane for an easy,
right-handed layup with 44 seconds left in the quarter. That was
Nelson's only basket of the game.
"I heard the chants and I really appreciated it," Nelson said.
"I heard them calling my name. That's those Saint Joe's fans."
Saint Joe's sold more than 1,400 tickets and 14 buses made the
short drive down the road from campus to the game.
It was Iverson, though, who gave the fans their money's worth.
Iverson had perhaps his most consistent game since moving back
to point guard this season. He was on target with his shot
(12-for-25) and kept his teammates involved, especially two
highlight passes to the athletic, high-flying Iguodala. The rookie
from Arizona finished with 11 points.
Iverson had a scare in the third when he fell out of bounds
driving for a baseline layup and slammed hard into the post. He
momentarily bent over and grimaced while shaking his left arm.
He sat out for a couple of minutes, but returned and promptly
buried a 16-footer and had an alley-oop assist to Samuel
Dalembert returned to the lineup after missing four games
with a hamstring injury. ... The Sixers' 68-60 lead was their first
after three quarters this year. ... O'Brien was a three-year
starter at Saint Joe's. "I'm thrilled for Jameer and Delonte
West," he said. "They really made every alum proud of what they
accomplished." ... Iverson had his 59th career double-double.