Wizards find no luck, lose 7th in row

76ers ride Iverson's 39 to 95-73 win

starters again bow to Washington bench


WASHINGTON -- Two minutes into last night's game, a sparse crowd booed the Washington Wizards and cheered the 76ers. This, mind you, was about 230 miles away from Philadelphia. And over the course of the next 46 minutes, the venom grew.

It occurred because the Sixers were unaware that they had a night off until the Wizards gave it to them. The Wizards served as mere spectators, while Allen Iverson poured in a game high of 39 points and Billy Owens added 18 to lift the Sixers to a 95-73 drubbing of the surprisingly woeful Wizards in front of 14,524.

To put matters in their proper perspective, consider this: Owens' 2-for-3 shooting in the first quarter equaled Washington's total field-goal output in the game's first 12 minutes. The Sixers held the Wizards without a field goal for the first 10 minutes, 2 seconds, limiting them to 2-for-20 shooting, before ending the first period ahead 26-10.

From that point on, it was a foregone conclusion that the Sixers (4-4) would improve to .500 for the first time this season, capture their second road win this season, and push the losing streak of the Wizards (1-7) to seven games. The Sixers handed the Washington franchise its worst start since the 1966-67 season.

Things were so bad, even Sixers coach Larry Brown couldn't help but shake his head. Wizards coach Gar Heard had served as an assistant under Brown for five years, from 1992 to 1997, before leaving for the same job with the Detroit Pistons. That move put Heard into position to land the top job in Washington.

Clearly, such a pathetic display was depressing for Brown to watch. But he wasn't around to see the tears in Heard's eyes after the game.

"I hate games like that," Brown said.

"Not as much as I do," Heard said.

They weren't alone.

Every time the Sixers made a basket, it appeared as if they were rubbing salt in the Wizards' wounds.

They shot 47 percent from the field, limiting the Wizards to 34 percent. They beat Washington, 24-14, in assists and forced 20 turnovers. Making things uglier than they already had been, the Wizards' $80 million backcourt, Rod Strickland and Mitch Richmond, combined for 17 points on 6-for-22 shooting.

"It's just bad, just awful," Heard said. "We've got to do something. We gave them the night off tonight. We didn't do anything. We'll have to make a change somewhere. It's time. My starters are not giving me anything but deficits on a nightly basis. It's been that way for the last seven games. I don't know what else to do."

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