Wednesday , Mar , 08 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Clash of the ballers: The Answer vs. The Truth

(Sports Network) – Putting aside the personal monikers, Sixers star Allen
Iverson and Boston stud Paul Pierce both play hard enough to earn those
flashy titles and the respect of their peers.

Iverson has been The Answer for the Sixers since they selected him No. 1
overall in the 1996 NBA Draft. A.I. leads the Sixers in scoring, as usual, and
is second in the NBA with 33.4 points per outing this season.

In his last five games, Iverson is averaging 37.4 points per contest and has a
pair of 40-plus point games.

In a 106-101 win over Houston last week, Iverson posted 40 points on 16-of-29
shooting and dished out 10 assists. Iverson then erupted for 47 points and
dished out 12 assists in a 119-113 win over Washington at the Wachovia Center.

Philadelphia, seeded seventh in the Eastern Conference playoff race, will need
Iverson to keep up the effort if the playoffs are on the agenda.

Stepping in the way of the Sixers’ postseason hopes, though, is Pierce.

Besides Iverson, Pierce is the only other player in the league to net 15
points or more in every game this season. He has scored 30-plus points in 12
of his last 13 games, the first time in Celtics history.

Pierce is the only player in the league to lead his team in points (27.2),
rebounds (6.9), assists (4.6) and steals per game (1.4).

Philadelphia and Boston will meet for the third time this season on Wednesday
night.

In the two previous contests, the Celtics beat Philadelphia, 110-103, on
November 30th at home, while the Sixers knocked off Boston, 125-124, in triple
overtime on January 13th at the Wachovia Center.

Philadelphia has won four of the last six meetings in this series. The Sixers
have lost three of five and four of their last seven at Boston.

The Sixers are scheduled to host the Celtics on April 7th in the fourth and
final meeting of the campaign between the teams.

PHI