Iverson got a huge ovation from the nearly sold-out crowd of
17,551 on Wednesday, many wearing Iverson's No. 3 jersey and
screaming as loud as they could when his name was called for
"It was a great feeling, man," Iverson said. "My first time
being here, people embracing me the way they were. It's something
I'm going to cherish ... It kind of made me more nervous, just
wanting to give them a good show."
And that's what Iverson did, scoring 27 points and finishing
with seven assists to lead the 76ers to a 100-88 preseason victory
over San Antonio.
Iverson played the first quarter and most of the second half.
That was more than enough for the Sixers (1-1) playing at South
Carolina's home arena.
The contest also gave Duncan a chance to reconnect with his old
Wake Forest coach, Dave Odom, who's now with the Gamecocks. Duncan
had dinner at Odom's house Tuesday night and goofed around with
South Carolina players during some informal drills hours before
"I haven't been around him in so long, not for anything other
than our paths just haven't crossed," Duncan said. "It was great
to have some time ... and talk about old times."
Still, there was no doubt that Iverson was the fan favorite. He
got the largest ovation during pregame introductions. Cameraphones
were aimed in his direction and flashes popped whenever he touched
One of Iverson's flashiest sequences came in the third quarter
when he took a pass on the left baseline and quickly moved past
Bruce Bowen, with Duncan closing on defense -- and getting called
for a foul on his fellow star. Iverson made both free throws to put
the 76ers up 64-56.
Moments later, Iverson drove past San Antonio's Stephen Graham,
gliding right behind Duncan, whose back was turned to the play. The
time, the ball fell in and Iverson finished the three-point play
for a 69-62 lead over San Antonio (0-2).
Iverson, though, says he doesn't concentrate on marquee
matchups. "If I start thinking about who's on the opposing team
and I've got to play well against that team, then the next night
when we play against guys without the big names, then you don't
play so well," Iverson said. "So you try and keep a consistent
Iverson seemed as excited at the solid play of his teammates.
After Lee Nailon made a 15-foot jumper on a play that didn't go
through Iverson, Philadelphia's floor leader pumped his fist in
Iverson closed his night with a running 20-footer, turning and
shaking his head in the universal playground taunt that he couldn't
be stopped. His final cheer came a few moments later when he was
replaced by Kevin Ollie.
"I think it sends a bad message when we lose these preseason
games," Iverson said.
Duncan played half the first quarter and all of the third for
the defending NBA champions. He finished with 12 points and eight
However, the Spurs' Duncan appreciation tour continues Thursday
with a game against Washington at Wake Forest, Duncan's alma mater.
"You can only like the guy so much," San Antonio coach Gregg
Popovich said. "After a while, it's 'OK, OK, we get it.' It's like
a farewell tour."
As for the game, San Antonio closed to 88-86 on Graham's basket
with 6 minutes to go. But John Salmons and Ollie each made two foul
shots and Kyle Korver hit back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the
Philadelphia played its second straight game without Chris
Webber, out with a right quad strain and not traveling with the
club. Coach Maurice Cheeks said he was not worried about Webber's
condition and hoped to have him back for the last two or three