Hoping For Better Results

Allen Iverson hopes his second game against his former team goes a lot better than the first.

Iverson faces the Philadelphia 76ers for the first time this season and the second since they traded him to the Denver Nuggets when the teams meet Sunday at the Pepsi Center.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Denver -8.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 204 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 73% of bets for this game have been placed on Denver -8.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

In his only game against Philadelphia - on Jan. 2 of last season - Iverson was ejected for picking up his second technical with 1:44 to play and Denver lost 108-97 to the visiting 76ers. He scored 30 points, but shot 10-of-24 from the field and committed a game-high seven turnovers.

Iverson, selected by Philadelphia with the top overall draft pick in 1996, averaged 28.1 points in his first 10 seasons with the Sixers. He was averaging 31.2 points last season before the Dec. 19 trade which sent him to Denver for Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two draft picks. His departure from Philadelphia was a bitter one after he clashed with coach Maurice Cheeks and demanded to be traded after a 5-18 start.

Philadelphia (14-19) played reasonably well last season following Iverson's departure, going 30-29, but enters this game 10th in the Eastern Conference standings.

It's been a different story for Denver (20-12), which finished with the sixth-best record in the West last season and is currently leading the Northwest Division.

Iverson is the league's third-leading scorer at 26.6 points per game and has been particularly effective recently, averaging 29.7 points in the last 10 games.

He scored 11 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter on Friday in a 118-107 win over Minnesota. The league-worst Timberwolves cut Denver's lead to six with three minutes to go, but Iverson made consecutive baskets to help put away the game.

"When you're not winning games on a consistent basis, things tend to usually go wrong at the end of games," Iverson said. "We were just fortunate that they couldn't make the big play when they needed it at the end of the game."

The Nuggets have had no such problems lately, winning five of their last six games to move a season-high eight games above .500.

"The thing with everyone healthy on our team is that we have a lot of versatility, a lot of different ways we can play," coach George Karl said. "I think right now we are just starting to feel who we can become and what we can become. Hopefully we will keep a mental focus of getting better every night and winning the games and if we lose, making sure that teams beat us."

The Sixers, meanwhile, are looking to go .500 on their six-game road trip. They opened it with a win at Sacramento but have lost three of the last four, including a 124-93 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

It was the most points allowed all season by Philadelphia, which is holding teams to 95.3 points per game to rank among the league leaders. The Sixers let the Lakers shoot 66.2 percent from the field, their best performance since 1984.

The starting five combined for just 40 points for Philadelphia, which never led and trailed 64-40 at halftime.

"No excuses about the long trip and things like that; they were just better from start to finish," Cheeks said. "I think they shot 30-plus layups, and anytime we give up 30-plus layups, we're going to be in trouble."

The Sixers are looking to avoid allowing 100 points in three consecutive games for the first time all season, but could be challenged by a Nuggets team which is fourth in the league at 106.4 points per game.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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