Bench corps helps 76ers top Wizards

Reserves score 28 points, Iverson gets 40 to offset Arenas' 36 in 112-105 win

November 12, 2003|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Allen Iverson has said that this year's Philadelphia 76ers supporting cast is the best he's had with him. The Washington Wizards will hardly argue the point.

Iverson dropped a season-high 40 points on the Wizards in a 112-105 win last night at MCI Center, but he had lots of help from likely and unlikely places.

Aaron McKie had 18 points, and Samuel Dalembert and Willie Green had 10 points each off the Philadelphia bench, which outscored Washington's reserves 28-13.

Dalembert and Green came in handy on a night when two Sixers starters, Glenn Robinson and Kenny Thomas, didn't play because of injuries and center Derrick Coleman left at halftime because of a strained knee.

"I give all the credit to [Philadelphia coach] Randy Ayers and his team," said Wizards coach Eddie Jordan. "They know how to win games like this, even though they were short-handed. They played tough and gritty and desire-filled basketball. We played that for the most part, but they have it down, and we'd like to get to that point."

Gilbert Arenas had 36 points and Larry Hughes had 23 -season highs for each player - to lead Washington (3-4). Arenas also handed out 10 assists and had seven rebounds before fouling out.

However, Arenas hit just two of his last 10 shots, and four of his last 15, and missed three key free throws down the stretch.

"I thought he was at the highest level that he's played all year," Jordan said of Arenas. "It's a good way to approach the game. If he keeps playing like that, that is what we need."

The 76ers hit 24 of 26 free throws in the second half, while the Wizards went 10-for-17 from the line. Washington rookie Jarvis Hayes had 20 points, and Etan Thomas had 10 rebounds off the bench.

Eric Snow had 13 points and 11 assists for the Sixers (4-4).

If nothing else, the three remaining games between the two teams this season will be quite interesting, as the action got chippy and physical in the second half, when the Sixers roared back from a seven-point halftime deficit to take the lead for good on a three-point play by Iverson with 1:04 left in the third.

Arenas took what he said was a deliberate elbow in the mouth late in the fourth quarter from Dalembert, which caused Arenas' lip to split and forced him out of the game momentarily with a bleeding mouth.

After the game, arena security was called to the Wizards' locker room, apparently to keep Arenas from confronting Dalembert.

"It was physical out there," Arenas said. "Both teams did a great job, but they know how to play the physical [game] and they've been doing it for years. They showed us how to be physical. We just have to respond by trying to get a win on Friday."

Said Iverson: "That's the realness of this league. That's what makes this league so special, because you have guys on every team that are capable of making big things happen on any given night. That's what [Arenas] was able to do. He played well, he played within himself and his team did a good job feeding off of him.

"Good for us that they just couldn't pull it out."

NOTE: Before the game, Wizards guard Jerry Stackhouse said his right knee will be re-evaluated by a doctor in New York on Friday. Stackhouse, Washington's leading scorer last season, hasn't played after underoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee just before this season.

Next for Wizards

Opponent: Miami Heat

Site: American Airlines Arena, Miami

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: CN8/WTEM (980 AM)

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