PHILADEPHIA (AP)—Allen Iverson has scored 87 points and dished out 22 assists in the two games since he was snubbed for the United States’ national team.
Coincidence? Iverson says yes.
It’s the first time Iverson has reached 40 points and 10 assists in consecutive games. He had 40 points and 10 assists against the Rockets on Wednesday night. The victory was the Sixers’ fifth in six games since the All-Star break.
“I promise you it’s not that,” Iverson said, while continuing to maintain he wasn’t bothered by not being invited to play. “If I can play the way I played the last two games from some controversy, I will hope there’s controversy going on all of the time.”
Gilbert Arenas scored 17 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, including five straight to bring Washington within 114-113 with 1:30 remaining. But his driving layup spilled out with the Sixers up three and 50 seconds to go, and the Wizards wouldn’t score again.
Chris Webber, who added 30 points and 12 rebounds, sealed the win with a three-point play with 14.5 seconds left.
The 77 points are the most Iverson and Webber have combined for since the latter was acquired in a trade deadline deal in February of last year.
“We’ve been talking about this for a year-and-a-half, so we’re glad that this is coming,” Webber said. “We really like playing together, and we’re getting it going. We’re really just trying to lead this team to where we know we can be.”
Antawn Jamison had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Wizards, who have lost three in a row.
While Arenas used his initial All-Star snub as motivation for a strong second half of the season, Iverson says he needs no such motivation.
“I felt good out there,” Iverson said. “My shot felt good from the beginning of the game to the end. When guys were helping on me, my teammates were getting open … and they were hitting shots.”
Said coach Maurice Cheeks: “Phenomenal is the word.”
Caron Butler, who had been battling stomach problems, had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Wizards, but left the game with 32 seconds to play after suffering an injury to his right ankle in a scramble for a loose ball.
Washington held a 14-5 edge in offensive rebounds, which led to 21 second-chance points, through the first three quarters to keep the game close despite 59 percent shooting from the Sixers.
After Iverson crossed over Antonio Daniels and got a layup that gave them a 95-90 lead, Arenas responded with a dunk, free throw and a 3-pointer to give the Wizards their first lead since the second quarter, 96-95.
Iverson responded with seven straight Sixers’ points to give them a five-point lead. A jumper by Webber put the Sixers up 110-102 with 4:30 left.
“We played very hard, especially in the second half,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “I thought we waited a little too long to play at a high level, energy-wise. Allen is playing at a high level we really couldn’t contain him tonight.”
Iverson hit his first 10 free throws before missing his first in the fourth quarter. … Although Samuel Dalembert played in his second straight game after missing three with an ankle injury, Steven Hunter made his fifth straight start at center. “I just like the way Steven has been playing,” Cheeks said before the game. “At some point, Samuel will be starting. No rush.” Hunter had 11 rebounds and three points. … Jared Jeffries, who missed Thursday’s practice with a strained left calf, started but was just 2-for-8 from the floor for seven points in 24 minutes. … Daniels was visibly upset after not receiving a foul call in the fourth quarter, leading teammate Antawn Jamison to bark, “Leave it alone and play ball!” Prior to the game, Jordan complained that his team had been affected by the officials in its previous two losses.