“That’s an ugly shirt, Willie,” Iverson shouted over a crowd of reporters.
Iverson couldn’t say anything negative about Green’s performance on the court.
Iverson had 31 points and 10 rebounds, and Green scored all of his season-high 17 points in the final 16 minutes, helping the Philadelphia 76ers overcome an 18-point second-half deficit in a 110-102 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night.
“He showed a lot. He proved a lot to me in how strong he is as a person and a basketball player,” Iverson said of Green, who hadn’t played the last two games.
“It made me feel good to be his teammate. He could’ve easily put his head between his legs and when it was time for him to be called on, he might not have been ready. But he was ready. He gave us a lift we always knew he could.”
“You have to play 48 minutes. We got too comfortable and full of ourselves,” Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said.
The Sixers, who trailed by 18 when Green entered the game for the first time with 3:46 left in the third quarter, took an 87-86 lead on Green’s driving layup 3 minutes into the fourth. Iverson made a free throw following a technical foul on Andre Miller, stole a pass and made a layup, and Iguodala got another layup, capping a 13-0 run that put Philadelphia ahead 92-86.
After the Nuggets got within 92-90, the Sixers went on a 9-1 run. Iguodala’s 3-pointer gave Philadelphia a 101-91 lead with 5:04 left.
Denver didn’t get closer than six points until the final minute.
“I just wanted to do something to spark the team,” Green said. “It’s always good to come in and help the team win a game.”
Iverson, who complained his head was spinning after taking a hard shot early in the third quarter, fell two assists short of a triple-double. He shot 11-of-23, and made 9 of 10 free throws.
Green, a starter for seven games this season, didn’t complain about his lack of playing time, while Sixers coach Jim O’Brien insisted the second-year pro hadn’t done anything wrong.
Green shot 4-of-5 from the floor and 8-of-9 at the foul line.
“You don’t know when your number will be called,” Green said. “You just have to be ready. That’s part of being a professional. I took it as a challenge. I thought Coach was challenging me to take my game to another level.”
Anthony gave Denver its biggest lead, 77-59, on a sensational one-handed dunk off an alley-oop pass from Martin at the top of the circle.
But the Sixers responded with a 17-4 run to end the third quarter down 81-76. Green scored eight points in that span. A three-point play by Iverson cut it to 81-79 at the start of the fourth, and a 3-pointer by Green made it 86-85.
The teams were tied 16 times in the first half before the Nuggets went on a 13-1 run, taking a 55-42 lead. Anthony began the run with a pair of 3-pointers, Greg Buckner added a 3 and Camby finished it with a jumper.
Denver led 56-46 at halftime, getting 15 points off 14 turnovers by the Sixers, who trailed despite shooting 55.6 percent.
“Green basically brought the team back himself,” Camby said. “This is a bad loss.” ^Notes: Sixers F Kenny Thomas sat out with the flu. Corliss Williamson took his spot in the starting lineup after missing two games with a knee injury. … Nuggets F Nene didn’t play because of a bruised right hip. … Denver continues its seven-game road trip at Boston on Wednesday night. … Buckner, who spent the last two seasons with the Sixers, had eight points and five assists.