They’ll try to rebound from their first loss of the season Wednesday when they visit the Toronto Raptors.
Little was expected from the 76ers after they finished 38-44 last season. But led by Iverson, who was the subject of trade rumors all summer, Philadelphia posted wins in its first three games before losing 97-86 to Indiana on Tuesday.
Iverson was held to only 20 points on 8-for-22 shooting, the first time in seven games dating to last season he was held below 30.
“We just never got another guy to score,” 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks said.
Fortunately for Iverson, he gets a chance to regroup against the Raptors, a team both he and the Sixers (3-1) have had plenty of success against.
The Sixers have won six of the last eight matchups with the Raptors and seven of nine at the Air Canada Centre dating back to the 2001-02 season.
Iverson, who is doing his best to dispel the notion the 76ers should trade him, has averaged 30.7 points in 32 games against Toronto, one of only four teams he’s averaged more than 30 points against in his career.
“You’re not going to totally stop him, but you’ve got to try to keep him from having an unbelievable night,” Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. “He’s going to keep shooting, so you’ve got to make him shoot a lot of contested, tough shots and hopefully he’ll have a bad shooting percentage. He’s going to score 20-plus points, just how easy does he get them?”
Before scoring only 18 points in his last game against Toronto, a 107-80 Sixers victory on Dec. 18, 2005, Iverson had scored more than 30 points in 13 consecutive games against the Raptors, with Philadelphia going 10-3 in those games.
The Raptors (1-2) have split the first two games of a four-game homestand. They beat Milwaukee 109-92 on Friday before losing 103-94 to San Antonio and a rejuvenated Tim Duncan on Sunday.
Toronto concludes the homestand Friday against Atlanta, then departs on a season-high, five-game road trip.
Wednesday’s game against Philadelphia will be a chance for Anthony Parker to exact some revenge against the team that drafted him.
After being selected 21st overall by the Sixers in 1997, he played little in two seasons, scoring only 74 points in 39 games.
Parker spent the past five years in Europe before joining Toronto in the offseason, and has been a pleasant surprise for the Raptors, averaging 14.7 points while starting the first three games.
“I remember sitting on the sideline in street clothes, working out before the game, eating pretzels in the locker-room during the national anthem,” Parker said with a laugh, about his time in Philadelphia.
“For sure, to be a guy who always plays and is always the first or second option on your team (in his four years at Bradley University), going to a situation in the NBA where you’re not playing and not suiting up some of the time, it’s a tough adjustment. It’s definitely not something you want to get used to.”