PHILADELHPIA (AP)—The 76ers’ other A.I. gave another All-Star performance.
Allen Iverson scored 29 points and had 12 assists, Andre Iguodala had 25 points, and Chris Webber had 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 116-107 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
Coming off an eventful All-Star weekend where he was named MVP of the Rookie Challenge and finished second in the slam dunk contest, Iguodala played with a rarely displayed aggressiveness and looked like he might deserve to play in the main event one day.
“If that didn’t let him know this weekend that he can be a great player in this league, then nothing will,” Iverson said. “But I think he got the message.”
The Sixers are surely counting on Iguodala to reach that level. He dunked, of course, but came through with a 3-pointer and a couple more outside shots to finish 9-for-15 from the floor and a point shy of matching his career high.
“I think I stepped my game up this year from last year, but I feel there’s a lot more I can do as well,” said Iguodala, who averaged 11.9 points. “I’m attacking a little bit more.”
The Cavaliers were coming off a 105-92 win over Orlando on Tuesday night and missed a chance to move 12 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1997-98 season.
The Sixers beat Cleveland for the 22nd time in the 26 games.
“They’ve given us trouble, no doubt about it,” James said. “This is the team that’s given us the most trouble thus far.”
Trailing by double digits most of the second half, Marshall hit a 3 that got the Cavaliers within eight late in the game. He added two free throws and James sank one to cut it to 110-105 with 2:07 left.
Iguodala came up with a nifty defensive play, hustling to chase down a loose ball at midcourt that set up an Iverson jumper that pushed the lead back to seven.
“It was just a play that got us an extra opportunity to score,” Iguodala said.
The play also rallied the Sixers. John Salmons added a basket and Iverson sank a couple of free throws to help them hold on to win for only the fourth time in 10 games.
“We didn’t get into playing their game,” James said. “They got some easy buckets, got up big, and we wasted our energy coming back. Once we got back, we had no more energy.”
The Sixers played for the first time since the All-Star break and first time since their most lopsided loss of the season, 117-84 to Chicago last Thursday.
Nearly one year to the day of Webber arriving from Sacramento in a trade, he enjoyed one of his finest games of the season, making 10 of 16 shots from the floor. Regarded as one of the best passers at his position, he fed Kyle Korver on a sharp bounce pass for a layup that gave the Sixers a 10-point lead early in the fourth. Webber also made a smart play when he slammed a ball off a Cavs’ leg to help the Sixers gain possession late in the game.
James didn’t score his first basket until there was 3:30 left in the first quarter, then he got rolling. His 3-pointer that opened the fourth made it 87-84 and he sank a couple of baskets that allowed the Cavs to hang around for most of the rest of the quarter.
The Sixers built a 17-point lead by the middle of the third on the strength of 20-point efforts from Webber and Iverson. The Cavaliers went on a 20-10 run in the last 5:12 and pulled to 87-80 at the end of the quarter.
Sixers president Billy King continued to dismiss talk that he’s interested in trading Iverson, saying there was “no truth” to any rumors. “People always ask about Allen just like I ask about other superstars,” he said. King also said any moves he might make would be “minor.” “If you read it in the paper, or wrote it in the paper, it’s not happening with us,” he said. … Despite losing to 5-foot-9 Knicks G Nate Robinson by one point in the slam dunk contest, Iguodala was introduced as “our own slam dunk champion.” Iguodala missed a fastbreak dunk in the third quarter. … Sixers C Samuel Dalembert sprained his left ankle and is day-to-day. … The Sixers are 6-0 when three players score 20-plus points.