Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sixers Spoil Iverson's Homecoming

The Philly fans welcomed Allen Iverson back with open arms, but the Sixers as a team proved to be less accommodating. Despite Iverson's 32 points and 8 assists, the Sixers continued their hot streak by defeating the Nuggets 115-113. Andre Miller, one of the players acquired in the Iverson trade, led the way for Philly, netting 28 points, and tallying 12 assists. The game fittingly came down to the Nuggets having the ball, down by two, and Iverson taking the possible game-winning shot. He missed the shot, and Marcus Camby missed a follow-up to allow the Sixers to come away with the victory.

The game was a win-win for Sixers fans: not only did they get to see their former star shine, but they got to see the home team move another step closer to the playoffs. Although it is a great win against a good Western Conference team, the victory more importantly allows the Sixers to keep up with the Wizards and Raptors, both winners tonight, in the race for the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers, who moved to .500 with the win, are still one game out of the 5th spot.

The Nuggets remain the 9th seed in the West. Shockingly, if the season ended today, Iverson would have to watch his former team in the playoffs while Denver's season would be over. Somewhere, Billy King is smiling.

Seeing Iverson embraced by the city of Philadelphia was a great sight. Iverson is definitely missed, although few fans would want him back on the team now. Iverson's departure has allowed the young guys on this team to develop their skills and step into roles that were non-existent with A.I. controlling everything. Do you think Thaddeus Young and Louis Williams would be valuable contributors if Iverson was still on the team?

With the Iverson distraction out of the way, the Sixers can go back to focusing on the playoffs. Next up are the Magic on Friday and the Nets on Sunday, followed by a tough slate next week with the Celtics, Bulls and Suns. I would normally say that the Sixers would be lucky to get 2 wins out of those games, but with the way they are playing right now, anything is possible.

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