Iverson scored a season-high 54 points, including his 15,000th
career point, and the Sixers won for the fourth time in five games,
earning a 116-97 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday
"I called his play as many times as I possibly could, and it
makes my job a lot easier," Philadelphia coach Jim O'Brien said.
It was the seventh time in Iverson's nine-year career that he
had scored at least 50 points in a regular-season game, and he has
done it three times in the playoffs.
His career-high is 58 points against Houston in an overtime game
on Jan. 15, 2002, and the 54 points tied his second-highest scoring
total in a regular-season game.
The Bucks tried several different defenders against the
five-time All-Star, but none could slow him. He made 17 of 29 shots
and 16 of 21 free throws, grabbing eight rebounds before exiting
with 2:34 left and the Sixers leading 106-87.
Iverson said he did not mind sitting out the final minutes of a
blowout victory instead of attempting to set a career high.
"Honestly, and I can't be any truer than this, all I wanted was
for the Milwaukee Bucks to be down one point once there were all
zeroes on the board," he said.
The Sixers blew a 19-point, fourth-quarter lead in an overtime
loss to New York on Friday night. They opened an 18-point,
third-quarter lead against Milwaukee, but watched as the Bucks
pulled within 64-63 on Michael Redd's 3-pointer with 4:44 left in
Philadelphia, though, went on a 9-0 run to open a 10-point lead
and the Bucks came no closer than seven points the rest of the
game, and no closer than nine in the fourth quarter.
"We're starting to get some things, and four out of five (games
won) is a good indicator," O'Brien said.
Milwaukee, decimated by injuries, has gone 3-14 since starting
the season 3-1.
"The biggest thing for us was we struggled offensively and we
are just really limited as to what we can run because of all the
new guys," Milwaukee coach Terry Porter said.
Redd scored 29 points for the Bucks, who have four players on
the injured list and also are playing without the injured Keith Van
Horn. Milwaukee missed 58 of 88 shots, shooting a season-low 34
Iverson is the seventh active player and 93rd in NBA history to
score 15,000 points. He scored 33 first-half points, making 12 of
17 shots and six of seven free throws.
His 17-foot jump shot with 6:19 left in the second quarter gave
him 15,001 points.
After the game, Iverson credited all of his NBA coaches and
teammates for the milestone.
"It made me feel good about the people who have surrounded me
and have helped me during my ups and downs in my career," he said.
Iverson had 12 field goals in the first half to Milwaukee's
nine. The Bucks missed 25 of 34 shots in the first half, with their
starters missing 17 of 20.
After Iverson exited the game in the closing minutes, he
gave his shoes to young boys wearing Sixers jerseys in the stands.
... The other six active players with 15,000 points are Reggie
Miller, Shaquille O'Neal, Gary Payton, Clifford Robinson, Kevin
Willis and Latrell Sprewell. ... A night after scoring a
season-high 26 points, Kenny Thomas did not dress for the 76ers due
to a mid back strain. He was injured in pregame warmups. Williamson
made his second start of the season in Thomas' place. ... Bucks
forward Desmond Mason was ejected with 2:57 left in the third
quarter for arguing calls. ... Milwaukee signed guard Eddie House
before the game. ... Sixers guard Kenny Salmons did not dress due