Allen Iverson WORST game series: 6pts vs New Jersey Nets (1999)
For Allen Iverson, it was a game to forget.
With Philadelphia fighting for playoff position, Iverson hit just 2-of-17 shots from the field in his personal battle against Stephon Marbury and the 76ers fell to the New Jersey Nets, 86-79.
The 76ers (21-19) dropped into a tie with Cleveland for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one-half game ahead of New York. The top eight teams make the playoffs, where the Sixers have not been since 1991.
Iverson finished with just six points, barely surpassing his season-low of five in an 85-80 loss to Cleveland. In that game, Iverson was benched for the final three quarters by coach Larry Brown following a sideline disagreement.
“Today, it was a case of me missing shots I normally make,” Iverson said. “I just couldn’t get it going. I couldn’t get into any type of flow. I just had a bad game.”
Despite Iverson’s struggles, the 76ers rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit and took their first lead of the game, 44-43, on a short jumper by Matt Geiger with 10:50 left in the third quarter.
But Philadelphia’s front line was unable to contain Keith Van Horn, who scored seven points to spark a 12-0 third-quarter run. Van Horn finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, including 18 points in the second half.
“In the second half, I didn’t have as may double-teams to deal with so I had my opportunities to score,” Van Horn said.
The Sixers pulled within one on two occasions in the final period but were unable to get over the hump. Iverson missed a floater in the lane with 2:18 left and Aaron McKie blew a layup with 46 seconds to go to exacerbate Philadelphia’s shooting problems.
Tyrone Hill led Philadelphia with a season-high 23 points and 13 rebounds, hitting 10-of-16 shots. But the rest of the Sixers shot just 27 percent (18-of-66) from the field.
The Nets were not much better, shooting 35 percent (30-of-86).
Although he hit just 5-of-15 shots and had seven turnovers, Marbury finished with 14 points, 10 assists and five steals and locked up Iverson, who fell decimal points behind Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal for the NBA scoring lead.
“I think you can’t do any better job than Stephon did on Iverson,” Van Horn said. “When we play defense like this we’re tough to beat.”
As the top point guards in the 1996 draft, Iverson and Marbury have their own personal rivalry. Iverson scored 23 points and Marbury had 18 and 12 assists in Philadelphia’s 96-92 win at New Jersey 11 days ago.
Today was a different story as the Sixers appeared listless from the outset.
New Jersey scored the first eight points en route to a 29-18 lead at the end of the quarter. Kendall Gill scored eight of his 15 points in the period while Philadelphia hit just 5-of-21 shots and committed five turnovers.
“I was sick during the first three minutes of the game with the way we started in a big game like this,” said Sixers coach Larry Brown.
A running jumper and a dunk by Kerry Kittles to start the second quarter helped New Jersey build its biggest lead at 33-18.
Geiger lifted the Sixers with six straight points to spark a 17-5 run, pulling them within 38-35. A layup by Geiger capped the spurt with 3:02 left in the half.
After Philadelphia moved ahead, Van Horn hit a 22-footer, scored on a dunk off a pass from Gill and sank a pair of free throws to start a 12-0 run that opened a 55-44 lead.
A dunk by Larry Hughes capped an 8-0 fourth-quarter burst and pulled the Sixers within 69-68 with 7:48 left. Van Horn answered with two free throws, a short hook and a 16-foot jumper to increase New Jersey’s lead to 75-68 with 6:12 remaining.
Philadelphia fought back again. McKie, who finished with 15 points, hit an 18-foot jumper, Iverson converted a pair of free throws and Eric Snow scored on a layup to cut the deficit to 75-74 with 4:20 left.
A dunk by Scott Burrell and a pair of free throws by Van Horn gave New Jersey a 79-74 lead with 3:31 left. Marbury hit four free throws and Gill added two in the final 2:08 to seal the win.