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Iverson's 54 Lifts Sixers

It was a homecoming all right Allen Iverson's.

Iverson, still bothered by boos he heard in Cleveland nearly four years ago, scored a career and NBA season-high 54 points and the Philadelphia 76ers got their eighth straight road win Saturday night, spoiling Jim Jackson's return with a 107-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Iverson, coming off a 41-point performance against Seattle, broke his own Gund Arena record of 50 points as the Sixers improved the NBA's best road mark to 15-4.

"I was trying to get him 60," said teammate Aaron McKie. "It was like he was playing HORSE out there."

Iverson's 54 points also was the most in the league this season, surpassing the 53 scored by Phoenix's Tony Delk on Tuesday night. Sacramento's Chris Webber scored 51 on Friday.

Iverson made 20 of 30 shots from the floor and dazzled a sellout crowd 20,562 which welcomed back Jackson, an Ohio native playing his first home game for the Cavs since coming over in a trade from Atlanta on Tuesday.

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  • In 1997, Iverson was named MVP of the Rookie Game during the All-Star Weekend at the Gund, but was booed by Cleveland fans who apparently didn't care for the speedy guard's tattoos or attitude.

    Iverson hasn't forgotten.

    "Coming here is always special because I remember when I first came here and all I heard was boos," Iverson said. "I didn't understand that. I didn't know why. Maybe they felt somebody else should have won it (MVP). But I felt bad the way they treated me for no reason.

    "So I always look forward to coming here to play against these people. I was thinkinabout it on the court tonight. ... I guess I was just feeling good."

    Jackson scored 13 on just 6-of-18 shooting and looked lost at times with his new teammates. His appearance gave the banged-up Cavs a needed spark, but it was Iverson's night from the outset.

    Iverson scored 15 points in the first quarter, 13 in the second, 16 in the third including Philly's first 13 and 10 in the fourth. It was the 20th time Iverson has scored at least 40 points in a game and the fourth time in his last eight games.

    He scored every way imaginable, on layups, jumpers, fadeaways and 3-pointers. And it didn't seem to matter who was guarding him as many of Iverson's high-arching shots hit nothing but net.

    "We ran into a guy who had it going tonight," Cavs coach Randy Wittman said. "We gave a great effort but we just couldn't overcome his 54 points."

    Andre Miller, who had the impossible task of trying to guard Iverson, had 22 points and 14 assists to lead the Cavs, who lost for the eighth time in nine games and lost yet another player to injury.

    Rookie center Chris Mihm hurt his right knee in the first half and didn't return. The Cavs are already without 7-foot-3 center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and only dressed 10 players because of injuries.

    The Cavs had no official work on Mihm's injury, but said the 7-footer would undergo an MRI Sunday at the Cleveland Clinic.

    McKie added 20 points and Theo Ratliff added eight blocks for the Sixers.

    Clarence Weatherspoon had 19 points and 16 rebounds for Cleveland.

    The Cavs got within 100-96 with 3:15 remaining on Miller's leaner from 10 feet, but Iverson had the answer for Philly.

    He drove past Jackson and dropped a floater in the lane to give him 52 points and the arena mark. He had scored 50 here on April 12, 1997.

    Lamond Murray's three-point play brought Cleveland within 103-99 but Ratliff hit a 15-foot jumper and Iverson made a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left to ice the win.

    Iverson scored 28 points in the first half and then scored Philadelphia's first 13 in the third quarter on a dizzying assortment of spins, drives and shots.

    "Every time we needed a bucket, he got us one," Sixers forward George Lynch said.

    He drove through three Cavs in the lane to score n a scoop and was fouled, giving the Sixers a 64-55 lead. On the next possession, he froze Miller with a crossover dribble before draining a fadeaway jumper and followed that with a 3-pointer.

    Tyrone Hill's dunk with six minutes left in the third quarter were Philadelphia's first points from someone other than Iverson.

    The Cavs made nine straight shots and led by 11 points early in the first quarter, but Iverson scored 15 points and the Sixers closed the period with a 14-4 burst to take a 27-25 lead.


  • The Sixers improved to 12-0 when topping 100 points.
  • Cavs guards Matt Harpring (ankle bone spur) and Wes Person (bruised elbow nerve) will seek second opinions next week to determine if they need surgery.
  • With the Cavs short-handed for practices, 41-year-old assistant coach Larry Nance has been scrimmaging with the team.
  • The Sixers have won eight straight vs. the Cavs and nine of 13 after losing 22 of 23 to Cleveland.

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