Billups, Nuggets spoil Iverson's return to Sixers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Chauncey Billups and Denver ruined Allen Iverson's homecoming.

Billups scored 31 points and Carmelo Anthony had 14 to help the Nuggets spoil Iverson's return to Philadelphia with a 93-83 win over the 76ers on Monday night.


FOXSports.com analysisRosen: Oden down and outHill: Better without Shaq? It dependsRosen: Nets go from bad to worstPower Rankings: Who's No. 1?Full NBA coverage | Scores | StatsVideoLakers' Girls First CalendarPhotosCourtside hotties

Iverson played sparingly in his three-game stint with Memphis and feared he'd be out of game shape for his debut. He played all but 1 second of the first quarter and sat out in the second half mostly because of three fouls by the middle of the third quarter.

Backed by 18 points from Iguodala and 10 from Thaddeus Young, the Sixers led 44-41 at the break.

They stretched that lead to nine when Iverson tossed a floater toward the basket that Dalembert slammed in for the alley-oop and had the Sixers feeling like their losing streak would be history.

Instead, only their lead evaporated.

Billups, traded from Detroit in last year's Iverson deal, showed why Denver was so eager to make the move. He sank a pair of 3s and worked his way to the free-throw line to score 13 points in the quarter and whittle the deficit to three.

Iverson was helpless in the fourth. Smith sank a pair of free throws to give Denver its first lead of the game, 67-65.

Billups and Smith each hit a 3 during a staggering 22-3 run that let the Nuggets take control of the game.

Billups nailed a late 3 for an 89-77 lead that sent the fans heading toward the exits.

The pregame show was worth the price of admission.

Iverson pulled in to the player's parking lot at 5:55 p.m., waving to fans who waited in the cold for a glimpse of one of the most polarizing athletes in Philadelphia's deep sports history.

He hit the court for warmups to the sound of fans screaming his name and holding "Welcome Home" signs. He took passes from his former 76ers backcourt teammate Aaron McKie, now an assistant coach.

He hit shot after shot to the delight of the crowd and broke out in a wide smile as they erupted in cheers.

Iverson always considered Philly home and dreamed of a return to the team he led to the 2001 NBA finals.

He just pictured a different outcome.

NOTES: Iguodala buried a 90-footer just after the buzzer to end the first half. It didn't count. ... The Sixers have lost 14 of 16. ... The Sixers had not sold out a game this season. ... Anthony was whistled for a technical in the third.


Play Basketball Hot Streak and win prizes!

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 8, 2009