Sports Network: Billlups Leads Denver To Victory

For more on the Sixers and the Nuggets, check out SB Nation blogs Liberty Ballers and Denver Stiffs, respectively.

(Sports Network) – Chauncey Billups went a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line in a 31-point night, and the Denver Nuggets spoiled Allen Iverson’s return in a Philadelphia uniform with a 93-83 win, handing the reeling 76ers their 10th straight loss.

Billups added eight rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets, who at one time employed Iverson for parts of three seasons after he was traded from the Sixers in the 2006-07 campaign. Carmelo Anthony added 14 points for Denver, which has won four straight and eight of nine.

Iverson, who received a standing ovation as the starting lineups were announced, scored 11 points, had six assists and grabbed five rebounds in his return to his original team. The diminutive guard signed with the team last week after a brief retirement from the game following his release from the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Georgetown product spent 10-plus seasons with Philadelphia to begin his career, leading the team to the 2000-01 NBA Finals and winning the MVP award in the same year. He is the franchise’s all-time leading per-game scorer and was starting in lieu of Lou Williams’ jaw injury, which will sideline him for an extended period of time.

The Sixers, who came into the game with the second-lowest home attendance in the league at 11,965 people per game, sold out the arena with 20,664 people on Monday.

Andre Iguodala led the 76ers with 31 points, but the team fell to 5-16 on the season, second-worst in the East. Thaddeus Young added 21 points, while Elton Brand had 10 and 13 rebounds in defeat.

Denver trailed by two to start the fourth but scored the first 14 points of the quarter to surge in front.

Chris AndersEn’s dunk to begin the frame quickly tied the contest, and Billups and J.R. Smith each hit a three — with Smith’s shot giving the visitors a 77-65 lead with 8 1/2 minutes to play.

The Sixers didn’t cut their deficit to single-digits again until a Samuel Dalembert slam with 5 1/2 minutes left made it 82-73.

Billups later answered with a layup, and after Young’s layup, Billups drained a three-pointer to make it a 12-point game at 89-77 with just over three minutes left.

Philadelphia didn’t threaten down the stretch.

The Sixers won the opening tip and quickly passed the ball to Iverson, and the crowd rose to its feet in applause for the former franchise star. Iverson went in for the layup, but the ball caromed off the rim.

Iverson’s first points came on a putback jumper from four feet away with seven minutes left in the opening quarter, and he had four total points in the first period. Iguodala had 14 points to lead Philadelphia, as the 76ers closed the quarter on a 11-5 run to take a 26-20 advantage into the second.

The Sixers went up by 10, 32-22, early in the second quarter, but the Nuggets cut their deficit to 44-41 at halftime. Iverson had only two points in the stanza on a jump shot in the final minute.

Philadelphia went back in front by nine early in the third, 56-47, after a nifty pass from Iverson to Dalembert, who had an emphatic slam with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.

Denver answered with eight straight points to make it a one-point game on Billups’ three-pointer, but Iverson and Iguodala combined for the next six points — all free throws — to put Philadelphia back up by seven.

The 76ers carried a slight 65-63 lead heading into the fourth.

The Sixers are on their longest losing streak since dropping 12 in a row from November 25 – December 20, 2006 — not much after they originally traded Iverson…The Nuggets swept last season’s series, 2-0…Iguodala hit a shot from nearly the opposing baseline at the buzzer in the first quarter, but the period had ended, nullifying the basket…Iverson, who shot 4-of-11 from the field in over 37 minutes of court time, had played only one game in Philadelphia since being traded — with the Nuggets…Dalembert had eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

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