Nuggets 106, 76ers 85
DENVER (AP)—Allen Iverson didn’t take his removal from Philadelphia’s starting lineup lightly, and he let everyone know how he felt about 76ers interim coach Chris Ford.
“I was angry all day from the shootaround on,” Iverson said. “Going in there and having a meeting and being with some guy that I don’t really know, telling me that I wasn’t going to start and what I have to do for us to be successful …
“I was just upset about being here eight years and somebody being here for one game and benching me.”
Iverson, who missed Monday’s practice and was held out of the starting lineup by Ford, led the 76ers with 27 points and a season-high 14 assists. He entered the game with 4:39 left in the first quarter and played 36 minutes overall.
“The relationship between us goes out the window,” said Iverson, the NBA’s leading scorer. “I told him why I couldn’t make it, and it wasn’t enough.”
Iverson said his plane was delayed after he played in the All-Star game in Los Angeles.
“The most frustrating thing was hearing him say he felt like I didn’t have respect for my teammates and that they don’t have respect for me, and that they feel like I don’t bring it every day,” Iverson said. “A coach has never, ever questioned whether I brung it every day.
“I sat there and cheered the guys on, and when I got my opportunity I came in and played the way I always play, and that is hard.
“I don’t have to be his friend, I don’t have to speak to him. I can play for him, though. I can play hard for him and I can do exactly what he wants me to do, night in and night out. I definitely will do that. But as far as having a relationship with him outside of basketball, that’s done from Day One.”
Ford, named head coach on Feb. 10, coached his second game with the Sixers on Tuesday.
Ford didn’t respond to Iverson’s remarks, saying before the game he was benching Iverson for an unexcused absence from practice.
Anthony, meanwhile, scored nine points in a pivotal third quarter as the Nuggets posted their third straight win.
Nene added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who outscored the 76ers 49-31 in the second half.
“We began the second half the way we ended before the All-Star break,” Anthony said. “This game was one to see where we were at as a team, mentally and physically. Tonight we showed we’ve improved over the first half of the season.”
Kenny Thomas had 17 points and 16 rebounds for Philadelphia, which had 21 turnovers.
Denver, which led 57-54 at halftime, jumped out to a double-digit lead early in the third quarter.
Anthony scored nine of Denver’s first 17 points in the quarter, capped by a fastbreak slam dunk, as the Nuggets took a 74-63 lead midway through the period. Anthony also had a rebound slam dunk and a scoop shot in the lane during that surge.
Anthony’s back-to-back rebound baskets in the fourth quarter gave Denver a 91-74 lead with 6:35 remaining, and Philadelphia got no closer than 13 points after that.
Nene and Voshon Lenard each had eight points in the first quarter, and Denver outshot Philadelphia 65 percent to 38 percent en route to a 32-19 lead.
Lenard’s 30-foot jumper barely beat the shot clock and put the Nuggets up 22-10. Anthony’s two free throws gave the Nuggets their biggest lead of the quarter, 27-12.
In a second quarter filled with spurts, the 76ers started the period with a 17-4 run, including seven points by Iverson, to produce a 36-36 tie with 7:06 left in the period. Eric Snow’s three-point play gave the 76ers their first lead of the game, 43-42.
Denver countered with a 15-2 surge, mostly on layups and slam dunks, and Anthony’s dunk on a pass from Marcus Camby made it 57-45. But Philadelphia scored the last nine points of the quarter, including Iverson’s three-point play, to cut the halftime deficit to 57-54.
Philadelphia shot 71 percent and scored 35 points in the quarter.
Camby returned after missing the previous two games with a strained left hamstring. … Ford is 1-1 since being named interim head coach on Feb. 10. … Denver is nine games over .500 for the first time since Jan. 4, 1990. … The Nuggets won the previous meeting this season, 86-77 in Philadelphia…. The Sixers lost their fifth straight on the road.