The feeling, however, was fleeting.
Following that win Friday over Boston, Philadelphia suffered a major letdown with a loss to the injury plagued New York Knicks the next night. Now, they’ll look to regroup as they play the first of two games in as many nights with a matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Iverson, who sat out one game with a bruised right knee, guided his team to a gritty 87-85 win over the Celtics. But the Sixers looked overmatched in a 99-88 loss to a Knicks team that played without its top two scorers.
Philadelphia was held to under 40 percent shooting for the third time in five games. Iverson scored a team-high 27 points, but shot 9-of-23 from the field.
“They had some guys out and we approached the game like it was going to be a cakewalk,” Iverson said.
The loss dropped the 76ers, who are still atop the Atlantic Division despite a 7-7 record, to 0-3 on the second night of back-to-back contests. The Sixers play two games in two nights twice this week.
Only two of Philadelphia’s seven wins have come against opponents with winning records. Three of the 76ers’ next four opponents are above .500, including Eastern Conference-leading Indiana on Friday night.
“It’s early in the season, and we’ve done some things good and we’ve done some things bad,” Iverson told the Philadelphia Daily News. ”… Are we going to stay the way we are, or are we going to keep getting better?”
The Bucks are also struggling to develop some consistency.
Sunday’s 82-62 win in Toronto could be a start. The victory, in which the Bucks shot 43 percent, snapped a three-game losing streak.
Milwaukee held Toronto to 34 percent shooting in handing the Raptors their worst home loss ever. Veteran reserve forward Toni Kukoc had a team-high 15 points and Joe Smith added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 23): 76ers - 1st place, Atlantic Division. Bucks - 4th place, 4 1/2 GB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: 76ers - Iverson, 27.9 ppg and 6.8 apg; Thomas, 8.2 rpg. Bucks - Redd, 21.5 ppg; Smith, 8.6 rpg; Ford, 5.8 apg.
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: 2-2.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 28; 76ers, 108-81. At Milwaukee, current Bucks forward Brian Skinner had a season-high 20 points and game-high 14 rebounds to lead Philadelphia, which never trailed.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: 76ers - 4-4 on the road; Bucks - 3-3 at home.
INJURIES: 76ers - F Derrick Coleman (knee); F Glenn Robinson (ankle); F Monty Williams (knee); C Todd MacCulloch (illness); G Greg Buckner (hamstring). Bucks - F Skinner (knee) Erick Strickland (thigh).