With one more defeat, his second stint with the Sixers will begin the same way.
Philadelphia will try again to end the NBA’s longest active losing streak as it continues a five-game homestand Friday night against the Houston Rockets.
The Sixers had lost 11 straight when they traded Iverson - the backbone of their franchise for the previous decade - to Denver on Dec. 19, 2006. They eventually dropped a 12th consecutive game, and they’ll have to beat Houston if they want to avoid matching that skid.
The signing of Iverson, prompted by an injury to point guard Lou Williams, hasn’t immediately helped. The 38-year-old is just 7 of 21 from the field in his first two games, with the Sixers (5-17) averaging 84.5 points in a pair of home losses.
“It’s going to have to be one of the best games ever from us in order to win,” Iverson said.
Philadelphia also hoped the return of Iverson would boost ticket sales, and the team sold out the Wachovia Center for the first time this season in his debut on Monday.
But just 12,136 fans watched Wednesday’s loss as the Sixers fell to 3-7 at home. Their average of fewer than 13,000 fans is among the lowest in the NBA.
“It’s going to get better,” Iverson said. “This is one of these times when you find out what type of character you have as men.”
The Rockets (12-9) have shown resilience this season while playing without injured stars Yao Ming(notes) and Tracy McGrady(notes), and their 7-5 road record includes impressive victories over the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah.
Houston has won four of five overall and is coming off a 95-85 home victory over Cleveland on Wednesday night, as the team got big performances from leading scorers Trevor Ariza(notes) and Aaron Brooks(notes).
Brooks had 27 points and Ariza added 26 on 11-of-19 shooting. Ariza had been 31 of 91 (34.1 percent) from the field in his previous five games.
“It was real big for me to get my confidence back up so that my teammates give me the ball again,” Ariza told the Rockets’ official Web site. “It feels good. I’m happy that I’m starting to come out of this little slump I was in. Once one or two go in, you feel like the rim is huge and that’s how I felt tonight.”
“I don’t think too many people have talked about our defense so far, so it’s nice to point to (Wednesday’s) game as an example of what we’re capable of doing when we really focus on defense,” forward Shane Battier(notes) said.
The Sixers have been able to score on Houston lately, shooting above 50 percent and averaging 102.5 points while winning four straight against the Rockets over the last two seasons.