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Ariza, Wizards top 76ers as Iverson's jersey retired

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- It was Allen Iverson's night, but Trevor Ariza made part of it his own.

The Philadelphia 76ers retired the No. 3 once worn by Iverson at halftime of Saturday night's game against the Washington Wizards, but Ariza, a journeyman forward, scored a career-high 40 points -- 24 in the first quarter -- to pace Washington to a 122-103 victory.

Ariza, who hit his first eight 3-point attempts, finished 8 of 12 from the arc and 14 of 23 from the floor.

Guard John Wall added 17 and 16 assists for the Wizards (31-28), who won their sixth straight. His assist total matched a career high.

Guard-forward Martell Webster also scored 17 for Washington, while forward Trevor Booker had 14 and center Marcin Gortat accumulated 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Guardy Tony Wroten had 19 points and forward Thaddeus Young 17 to lead Philadelphia (15-44), which dropped its 13th straight, and its 12th straight at home. The home slide matches a franchise record dating back to 1996-97, Iverson's rookie year. The overall skid is also the 76ers' longest since that season.

Ariza made all six of his 3-point attempts, and nine of his 10 shot all told, en route to his 24-point first quarter. It was a floor record for points by an opponent in any quarter, and helped stake the Wizards to a 39-24 lead late in the period.

The 76ers mounted a brief challenge early in the second quarter, but by halftime Washington was up 74-62. The Wizards' total was an arena record for points in any half.

Ariza finished the half with 29, and Wall had 12 points and 10 assists. Eight of his assists came in the first quarter, a floor record for an opponent in that period.

Guard Michael Carter-Williams countered with all 15 of his points in the first half for the 76ers, while Young had 11.

The 76eers never drew closer than eight in the second half.

Iverson was saluted at halftime by a raucous sellout crowd, in a ceremony included 76ers greats like Moses Malone and Julius Erving, as well as some of Iverson's former teammates, like Theo Ratliff and Aaron McKie.

"Show me the fool that said dreams don't come true, because they do," Iverson said in his remarks to the fans. "I love you, Philadelphia."

The 38-year-old Iverson last played in 2009-10, and earlier this season formally announced his retirement. He scored 24,368 points during his 14 seasons, an average of 26.7 a game.

Adam Silver, the new NBA commissioner, told the crowd that Iverson "defined the city of Philadelphia more than any other athlete."

Before the game Washington coach Randy Wittman said Iverson was "probably one of the toughest small guys we've seen in a long time -- very tough, loved to play the game, hated coming out of the game, never stopped coming after you."

Sixers coach Brett Brown called Iverson "a larger-than-life personality" and "beyond a fierce competitor."

"He lived hard, played hard, wore his heart on his sleeve," Brown said. "I have the utmost respect for him, and just appreciate what his name is and what he's done for this program."

NOTES: NBA commissioner Adam Silver, asked before the game about the perception that teams like the 76ers are tanking to improve their draft status, said it is "an insult to the entire league to think that these guys are going out on the floor and not doing their very best to win games. What this organization is doing is absolutely the right thing. What they're doing is planning for the future and building an organization from the ground level up. If you look at what's happened here over the last several years, it's badly needed." ... The Wizards beat Toronto in triple overtime in their previous game Thursday, but as coach Randy Wittman said prior to tip, it is "part of our business" to get prepared for the next outing. "That game's over with," he said, "and we've got to be ready to step up tonight." ... The 76ers signed F Jarvis Varnado to a 10-day contract. Varnado was averaging 14.7 points, 11 rebounds and 4.7 blocks for the Iowa Energy of the Development League. ... Wizards F Kevin Seraphin missed his third straight game with a sore right knee.
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