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 last night.
The Nuggets went on a 22-3 run over the third and fourth quarters to rally for their fourth straight win.
Iverson’s rousing return did little to mask the fact that the Sixers are a lousy team. They’ve lost 10 straight, and only one-win New Jersey has a worse record in the Eastern Conference.
Iverson received a standing ovation when he left in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting and had six assists in 37 minutes.
“I think it’s important for my coaching staff, my teammates, and my fans to be a little patient with me,’’ Iverson said.
Coach Eddie Jordan said he “anticipated’’ Iverson would start against the Nuggets, one of three teams he played for after leaving Philadelphia.
“He made a difference already in practice,’’ Jordan said. “His talking, his presence, being a step ahead of the play defensively.’’
Iverson kissed the logo at midcourt when he was introduced to a sellout crowd of 20,664.
Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 31 points, Thaddeus Young had 21, and Samuel Dalembert grabbed 15 rebounds.
But this night for the Sixers was all about Iverson in his first game with the team since he was traded in 2006.
Iverson missed his first shot, a makable layup early in the first quarter. His first points came off a 4-footer he tossed up off a Dalembert miss.
Backed by 18 points from Iguodala and 10 from Young, the Sixers led, 44-41, at the break.
Iverson was helpless in the fourth. Smith sank a pair of free throws to give Denver its first lead, 67-65.
Billups and J.R. Smith each hit a three during the 22-3 run that let the Nuggets take control.
Jazz 104, Spurs 101 - Deron Williams recovered after missing his first six shots and scored 17 points, including a go-ahead jumper with 22 seconds left, and host Utah held on to beat San Antonio, guaranteeing the Jazz their first series win over the Spurs in 12 years.
Williams added 11 assists and Carlos Boozer had 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists for the Jazz, who outscored the Spurs, 37-19, in the third quarter and held on down the stretch.
Knicks 93, Trail Blazers 84 - Larry Hughes scored 21 points, David Lee had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and host New York beat Portland for its third straight victory.
Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler each added 14 points as the Knicks won for the fourth time in five games, continuing to play better after coach Mike D’Antoni shortened his rotation and has found a group willing to defend.
Thunder 104, Warriors 88 - Kevin Durant scored 28 points, rookie James Harden added a career-high 26, and host Oklahoma City capitalized on a brief blowup by Golden State’s Corey Maggette to pull away for the victory.
Oklahoma City led by 1 when Maggette drew two technical fouls for arguing with official Derek Richardson late in the third quarter. Durant hit both free throws, and Russell Westbrook added two more from the initial foul against Maggette.