for this game

Iverson's 46 keeps Bulls winless on trip

Nov 25, 2006 - 3:10 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- The Chicago Bulls' record on their circus road trip still has a conspicuous ring at the front of it.

The Bulls fell to 0-6 on their trip with a 123-108 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, who welcomed back Allen Iverson and his 46 points and ended a four-game slide.

Iverson returned from a two-game absence to register his 75th career 40-point game for Philadelphia, which never trailed and shot a blistering 54 percent (42-of-78) from the field, adding to Chicago's woes.

Every November, the Bulls vacate the United Center and hit the road for an extended period as the circus comes to Chicago. It has not been a good trip as the Bulls have lost the first six games by an average of 9.9 points.

On the bulletin board in Chicago's locker room was written "Compete & Tough" with the team's 3-8 record circled with many underlines for emphasis. It had little effect as the Bulls fell into a 13-1 hole in the first 3 1/2 minutes.

"They hit a couple of shots early," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "Almost right after that we kind of lost it. I guess we got discouraged. We just had great difficulty once again getting any stops or doing anything productive on the defensive end."

Skiles appeared frustrated, pulling ineffective center Ben Wallace very early and going to little-used forwards Viktor Khryapa and Mike Sweetney in an unsuccessful search for the right combination.

"He's the coach," Wallace said. "Until my number's called, all I can do is cheer for my teammates."

The trip ends Saturday in New York, and the Bulls will be happy to get away from Iverson, who returned with a vengeance after having surgery to remove an abscessed wisdom tooth. The four-time scoring champion made 15-of-30 shots and 16-of-17 free throws, adding 10 assists.

"This thing still kills me," Iverson said. "I didn't take any painkillers before the game because I was scared that it was going to make me drowsy, so I just had to deal with the pain. I can't wait to take some (painkillers) before I leave."

"In shootaround today, he didn't look like himself," Cheeks said. "Then to come out and play the way he did tonight is phenomenal. Not many guys can step out on the floor after missing games and do what he did - 15-for-30, 10 assists. Not many guys can do that."

Iverson scored 14 points in the first half, then erupted for 17 points in the third quarter and 15 in the final period as he repeatedly kept the Bulls at bay.

"I think he wanted to come back and put his foot down and just let us know, 'Hey, I'm back!'" Sixers swingman Andre Iguodala said.

"We missed him the last two games," Sixers guard Willie Green said. "We were out there fighting hard, but it was almost like being out there without your big brother. We were just happy to have him back. He had a big game for us and we needed that going into Cleveland."

Green, who started and scored 24 points in each of the games Iverson missed, returned to his bench role but continued scoring. He had 16 points in the second quarter as Philadelphia shot 60.5 percent (23-of-38) in the first half and opened a 60-50 lead.

"I've been playing well for the last three games or so," Green said. "You're gonna get a (few) more minutes and you just continue to build on top of that. It definitely feels good for my confidence, but I also don't want to get too ahead of myself."

Iverson made a pair of jumpers and two free throws early in the third period to give the Sixers a 72-56 advantage. The Bulls cut it to 90-81 before Iverson closed the quarter with a three-point play.

"I just think that being in shape has a lot do with it and playing the game for so many years," Iverson said. "I'm just used to it. I'm just able to come back and play well."

Green scored 20 points and Iguodala added 19 for the Sixers, who for the third straight game were without injured big men Chris Webber and Steven Hunter.

Sixers forward Shavlik Randolph sprained an ankle in the first half and did not return. But veteran forward Alan Henderson picked up the slack with a season-high 13 points.

Luol Deng scored 28 points and Andres Nocioni added 24 and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who shot 54 percent (42-of-78) but committed 22 turnovers.

Wallace, who was signed to a four-year, $60 million contract in the offseason, was held without a point and rebound for the first time since January 21, 1998. He was coming off his first double-double of the season.

"The rebounds were zero and there's no explanation," Wallace said. "If I knew the answer, I'd be doing something to try and change it."

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