Philadelphia (26-38) at Chicago (18-44)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 23° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EST Tue Mar 9, 2004
  • TV: WPSG, FSCH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Allen Iverson has had trouble staying healthy this season, and the Philadelphia 76ers will again be without their All-Star guard when they visit the Chicago Bulls.

Iverson has missed 19 games this season after playing in all 82 last season for the first time in his career. The Sixers are 7-12 without him in the lineup.

He did not play Philadelphia’s 97-92 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday because of an injured right knee. An MRI was negative, and he could return this week.

Without the services of the NBA’s second-leading scorer, interim coach Chris Ford had to scramble for other scoring alternatives. Against the Bucks, he found them in little-used reserves Greg Buckner and Zendon Hamilton.

Buckner scored a season-high 20 points in 26 minutes, and Hamilton added a season-high 19 to help Philadelphia rally from a 20-point deficit.

Buckner, who had not played in the previous four games, was 8-of-12 from the field, including four 3-pointers.

“You don’t want to sit on the bench,” Buckner said. “It’s tough, but you have to be ready when the coach calls your name.”

When asked why Buckner was not playing more minutes, Ford replied, “I must be a dummy.”

The Sixers, who beat the Bulls 97-88 Saturday, have won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 7-9.

They trail the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics by two games for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Only three games separate the sixth-place New York Knicks and the Sixers, who are in 11th.

The Bulls, who have dropped two straight, will be trying to prevent the Sixers from sweeping the four-game season series.

Eddy Curry scored 24 points Saturday in Philadelphia, but the Bulls were outscored 30-15 in the fourth quarter.

“Philly is a good team,” Curry said. “You can’t stay close to them. You have to have a nice cushion going into the fourth quarter, and go into the final minutes with a force.”

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