Heat Healthier, Iverson Remains in Pain

Thursday, February 8th 2007, 5:54 am
By: News On 6

Playing hurt has never bothered Allen Iverson. Playing poorly is a different story.

And now Iverson might not play at all for a few days.

The Denver Nuggets lost again Wednesday night, but the news out of the locker room was the more troubling part. After Iverson struggled to a 9-for-21 night, he said he could be headed back to the bench until his injured ankle allows him to play at full speed _ the only way he knows.

``I can't help us out there like this,'' Iverson said. ``I tried as hard as I can tonight, but it just wasn't me. I couldn't move the way I wanted to move and I couldn't get to the basket the way I normally do. I felt at times like I had to settle for jumpers because I couldn't get there all the way. Rather than hurt my team, I am going to re-evaluate the situation. I can't play if I feel like this.''

Another injury is the last thing the Nuggets need, with center Marcus Camby already missing Denver's 114-112 overtime loss to New Orleans with a strained groin.

The injury outlook is much better for Miami. The Heat won their fifth in a row, extending Boston's franchise-record losing streak to 16 games with a 91-79 victory over the Celtics.

After playing most of the season without Shaquille O'Neal and dealing with occasional injuries to Dwyane Wade and Jason Williams, the Heat are enjoying a strong stretch that has pulled them within 4 1/2 games of first-place Washington in the Southeast Division.

``We are defending champs, so we've got some talent. And if we get healthy and guys get together and get in decent shape, then we're a pretty good team,'' Heat coach Ron Rothstein said. ``We didn't exactly beat them with our effort, we beat them with our talent.''

In other games, it was: New Jersey 87, Atlanta 85; Toronto 113, Orlando 103; Seattle 103, Indiana 102; San Antonio 110, Washington 83; Philadelphia 92, Charlotte 83; Cleveland 94, the Los Angeles Clippers 77; Minnesota 121, Golden State 93; and Dallas 113, Memphis 97.

At Boston, Wade had 30 points and nine assists as Miami went on a 19-2 run to erase a 12-point, first-quarter deficit. O'Neal scored nine points while playing 25 minutes as he recovers from knee surgery.

``That's a team who's very hungry to get a win, and the world champions come in and you expect nothing but the best from them early on. So they came out the way we expected,'' Wade said. ``We just had to weather the storm.''

Adding injury to insult, the Celtics lost Wally Szczerbiak to a sprained ankle. They're already without leading scorer Paul Pierce because of an elbow injury that has landed him in the hospital with an infection.

After missing four games, Iverson acknowledged he returned too soon to help the struggling Nuggets. He scored 22 points, but wasn't good enough to help Denver avoid a seventh loss in eight games after Desmond Mason's basket at the overtime buzzer.

``I don't want this bothering me for the rest of the season,'' Iverson said. ``My speed is a big part of my game and when I can't move by people the way I want to I know something is wrong.''

Mavericks 113, Grizzlies 97

Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 of his 38 points in the first quarter, and Dallas matched a franchise record with its 16th consecutive home victory.

Pau Gasol had 29 points and Mike Miller 21 with five 3-pointers for Memphis, which lost for the sixth time in seven games and dropped to 3-21 on the road.

Spurs 110, Wizards 83

Tony Parker and Tim Duncan scored 20 points apiece for San Antonio. The visiting Spurs never trailed, shot 62 percent in the first half and led by double digits for all but the first 4:05 of the game.

Gilbert Arenas scored 29 points but made only 10 of 24 shots for the Wizards, who fell to 1-3 since Antawn Jamison was sidelined with a knee injury.

Nets 87, Hawks 85

At Atlanta, Vince Carter made the go-ahead layup with 7.6 seconds remaining, grabbed a critical rebound on Atlanta's final possession, and New Jersey stopped a four-game losing streak.

Josh Smith led Atlanta with 20 points, but fouled out midway through the fourth.

Raptors 113, Magic 103

At Toronto, Chris Bosh scored a career-high 41 points and outplayed Dwight Howard in a matchup of All-Star big men as the Raptors won their season-high fourth straight.

Bosh also had eight rebounds for the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors, who have won nine of 11. Howard had 32 points on 13-for-14 shooting for the Magic, who have lost 11 of 14 to fall to .500 (25-25) for the first time since early November.

SuperSonics 103, Pacers 102

Ray Allen scored 33 points and rookie Andre Brown made the go-ahead basket with 23 seconds remaining as Seattle snapped a 15-game road losing streak.

Jamaal Tinsley, who received a smattering of boos after he was allegedly involved in a bar scuffle after Monday night's game against Golden State, led Indiana with 25 points.

76ers 92, Bobcats 83

At Philadelphia, Andre Iguodala scored 27 points as the 76ers won for the seventh time in 11 games.

Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor each scored 16 points for the Bobcats. Charlotte (18-31) now has only two fewer losses than the Eastern Conference rival Sixers (17-33).

Cavaliers 94, Clippers 77

At Cleveland, Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 16 points with a season-high 16 rebounds, Larry Hughes scored 15 points and the Cavaliers hardly needed LeBron James in an easy victory.

Elton Brand led Los Angeles with 21 points and Shaun Livingston added 19 for the Clippers, who have dropped three in a row.

Timberwolves 121, Warriors 93

At Minneapolis, Kevin Garnett had 17 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, and Minnesota snapped a four-game losing streak with its biggest margin of victory this season.