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Ailing Iverson helps Sixers beat Hornets

Hornets' guard Speedy Claxton shoots over Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson, who scored 24 first-half points and had nine assists.
Hornets' guard Speedy Claxton shoots over Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson, who scored 24 first-half points and had nine assists.
George Widman, Associated Press

On any other night, Allen Iverson would have begged to go back in the game. On Monday, he was begging for extra rest.

Playing with flulike symptoms, Iverson scored all 24 of his points in the first half and then happily sat out the fourth quarter as the 76ers defeated the New Orleans Hornets 103-91 in Philadelphia.

"I didn't feel good at shootaround," said Iverson, who told coach Maurice Cheeks he was ailing as he prepared to go back in for the fourth period. "He just told me to come back, and fortunately everything worked out fine."

Iverson, the NBA's second-leading scorer at 32.5 points per game, shot 8-of-22 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free-throw line. He also had nine assists as the Sixers (7-5) snapped a two-game skid. It was the first time this season that Iverson failed to score at least 25 points.

"I didn't feel good at all," he said. "I was dizzy out there for virtually the whole game. Once I stopped playing at halftime, and came back in, I just never felt right. I think I'm coming down with something. I want to get home and take some medication and see how I feel in the morning."

Iverson was one of six Sixers to score in double figures. John Salmons scored 19 points, Andre Iguodala added 15 points, and Chris Webber and Steven Hunter each had a double-double. Webber had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Hunter had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Kyle Korver scored 10.

"I knew Allen wasn't feeling well, and that I had to pick it up some," Salmons said. "He was encouraging us the whole fourth quarter to keep it up. It's a good feeling to play so well with Allen getting some rest."

The Sixers have been sporadic on defense this season, giving up an average of 106 points. But their defense was much better from the start as they held the Hornets to 42 percent shooting in the first half en route to a 65-47 lead.

"We were more aggressive in our defense and the fact that we played more zone than we normally have," Cheeks said. "We were active in our zone, we were talking in our zone and we played a little more full-court defense."

David West scored 20 points, J.R. Smith added 17 and Speedy Claxton had 15 for the Hornets (4-6), who won their previous two games. The Hornets didn't win their fourth game until Jan. 11 last season.

"We were happy with two straight wins and that was satisfying enough for us instead of trying to come in here and get one against a very good basketball team," coach Byron Scott said.

SPURS 96, KINGS 93: At Sacramento, Calif., Tim Duncan had 22 points and 19 rebounds, Tony Parker scored 23 and the Spurs got their fourth straight victory. Parker and Duncan frustrated the Kings' defense, helping the Spurs win for the seventh time in eight games and improve to 9-2, the best record in the Western Conference. Trailing by 17 early in the fourth quarter, the Kings finally got going. Mike Bibby led the comeback with 14 of his 33 points in the fourth. Bibby's 3-pointer cut the lead to 96-94 with 27.6 seconds left, but he could not connect on a desperation 3 with 1 second left that would have tied the game.

WARRIORS 100, NETS 97: At Oakland, Calif., Derek Fisher scored nine of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. Jason Richardson added 25 points and Baron Davis had 17 points and eight assists for the Warriors, who began a stretch with eight of nine games at home. Richard Jefferson scored 23 for the Nets, who lost Vince Carter to a strained back muscle. They began a five-game road trip with their first loss to Golden State since a 105-97 defeat in Oakland on Jan. 23, 2003.