Allen Iverson’s(notes) first victory in his second stint with the Philadelphia 76ers took some time to happen, but the four-time scoring champion played a big role in helping his new teammates snap their lengthy skid.
Leading Philadelphia to its first back-to-back wins since October could be a far tougher task.
The 76ers’ follow-up to their first victory in nearly a month comes Wednesday night as they host the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will be looking for their sixth straight win at the Wachovia Center.
Iverson was with the 76ers (6-18) for the first 11 games of their 12-game losing streak Nov. 25-Dec. 20, 2006, but was shipped to Denver on Dec. 19.
He returned to Philadelphia on Dec. 7 with his original team in the midst of a nine-game slide, which stretched to 12 as the former MVP shot 35.9 percent and averaged 14.0 points to begin his second stint as a 76er.
Paired with rookie Jrue Holiday(notes) in the starting backcourt as Elton Brand(notes) shifted to the bench, Iverson got the Sixers back in the win column Monday. Thaddeus Young(notes) led the way with 26 points and Iverson added 20 while shooting 7 of 10 in Philadelphia’s 117-101 rout of Golden State.
“This was big, man,” Iverson told the NBA’s official Web site. “We were just trying to get the monkey off our back. We wanted to get that winning feeling back.”
Holiday had 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals while drawing praise from his backcourt mate.
“He just put us in a good rhythm tonight and had us flowing,” Iverson said.
It was no surprise the 76ers’ first victory since Nov. 18 came with a big effort from Young, who’s averaged 19.2 points over his last 12 games, but stunning that it came on one of Andre Iguodala’s(notes) worst nights. Philadelphia’s leading scorer (19.4 ppg) was held to 14 Monday, when he shot 4 of 20 and briefly left the game with bruised ribs.
Iguodala didn’t practice Tuesday and is questionable to face the Cavaliers (18-7). He was held to 12 points on 6-of-22 shooting as Cleveland beat Philadelphia 97-91 on Nov. 21, the second game of the Sixers’ losing streak.
LeBron James(notes) scored 32 in that win, the Cavaliers’ sixth in seven games against Philadelphia. Their only loss in that span came 111-110 in overtime at home April 15, when Cleveland had already clinched the NBA’s best record and sat all of its regulars.
James has averaged 25.3 points during the Cavaliers’ five-game winning streak at the Wachovia Center - he sat out the first victory in that stretch with a sore toe - and he didn’t put up huge numbers in Cleveland’s latest win, either.
The reigning MVP had a team-high 23 points Tuesday as the Cavaliers shot 58.2 percent, but also committed six turnovers as Cleveland looked sloppy before putting New Jersey away 99-89.
Five of the Cavaliers’ seven losses have come to teams below .500.
“It’s something we have to continue trying to figure out,” coach Mike Brown said. “We don’t need to play at a high level, but at a consistent level throughout games.”
Shaquille O’Neal(notes), who missed Cleveland’s game against the 76ers last month with a strained shoulder, had 16 points against the Nets. One of O’Neal’s best games with Phoenix last season came against Philadelphia, as he finished with 26 points and 11 boards in a 126-116 win March 18.