Return of A.I. lifts Sixers over Hawks
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Allen Iverson returned to Philadelphia’s
lineup after a four-game absence, scoring 29 points and dishing out 12
assists, as the Sixers dominated Atlanta, 115-106, at the Wachovia Center.
Iverson provided a much needed spark to the Sixers, who had lost four straight
games since Iverson went down with an ankle sprain March 12th against Memphis.
“Honestly it felt like the first game of the season,” said Iverson. “[I felt]
just like a kid in a candy store, it was just fun to be back out there and be
in the environment and playing with my team and trying to help.”
Chris Webber poured in 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Andre Iguodala
scored 17 points and collected 12 boards. Kyle Korver shot 6-of-7 from
three-point range and finished the game with 23 points.
Josh Smith scored 22 points for the Hawks, who have lost six of their last
seven games. Marvin Williams scored 21 points off the bench. Josh Childress
tallied 17 points and pulled down 12 boards. Joe Johnson, Al Harrington and
Royal Ivey each scored 12.
The Sixers used an explosive first half to take control of the game.
Philadelphia shot 62.8 from the field, including 6-of-7 from three-point
territory, en route to a season-high total 67 points for a half. Iverson led
the Sixers, scoring 18 of his 29 points. Webber had 16 while Iguodala had
Sparked by six straight points from Webber, the Sixers went on a 11-0 run in
the first quarter and led by eight heading into the second, 32-24.
Iverson then scored Philadelphia’s first eight points of the second quarter
and Korver went 3-of-3 from beyond the arc as the Sixers outscored the Hawks
35-24 and led by 19 at the break, 67-48.
The punch-less Hawks did not muster a serious comeback in the second half and
only made the score look respectable because Philadelphia took out most of its
starters with less than four minutes remaining.
“It was tough,” said Harrington. “We thought they (Sixers) would eventually
let us into the game. They really finished us tonight; we tip our hats off,
they did a good job.”
The Hawks managed to shoot 50.7 percent from the field, but were hurt by 19
Philadelphia finished shooting 50.6 percent from the field, including 66.7
percent from three point range (10-15).
“We haven’t had games like this where we’re not even in the game,” said
Atlanta head coach Mike Woodson. “Give Philadelphia credit because they’re
fighting for something (playoffs). That’s where I want to be with this team.”
With the win, the Sixers now have a 3 1/2 game cushion over Chicago for the
eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls lost to
Indiana on Wednesday.
Besides Iverson, Kevin Ollie returned to the starting lineup, scoring 12
points and dishing out five assists. The Sixers are now 9-6 when Ollie
starts…Philadelphia outrebounded Atlanta, 39-34…The Sixers took the season
series with the Hawks, 2-1.