Sun, Dec 24, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Iverson plays in his first game at home with the Nuggets

AP , DENVER

Allen Iverson, right, goes to the basket against Mike Bibby of the Sacramento Kings during his first NBA game as a Denver Nugget on Friday at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

PHOTO: AFP

The crowd erupted when Allen Iverson got up early in the first quarter, but the fans quickly realized it was just a timeout.

When Iverson made his first appearance for the Denver Nuggets with 3:25 left in the first, the crowd roared even louder.

The public address announcer said, "For the first time at the Pepsi Center, Allen Iverson," and the crowd dialed it up even more.

Iverson, acquired from Philadelphia on Tuesday, sat next to assistant coach Mike Dunlap, waiting for Denver coach George Karl to put him in against the Sacramento Kings. The star guard had a towel on his lap and took sips from a Gatorade bottle. He got up from his seat on a Nene shot and did a little fist pump.

Iverson's first basket came on a fadeaway with 1:24 left in the first. His first awe-inspiring pass was a lob to DerMarr Johnson for a slam in the second quarter.

Iverson cleared his physical shortly after arriving at the Pepsi Center about an hour before the game with Sacramento.

"It's going to be fun," Karl said. "I don't know how he's going to fit or what it's going to mean. I know he's a great player. I know he's excited to be here. I know we're excited to have him. Right now, we've just got to let the rhythm of the game tell us where it falls into place."

Iverson's physical was all that had kept the trade between the Nuggets and 76ers from becoming official. New 76er Andre Miller passed his physical, although he didn't play on Friday night.

The Nuggets certainly needed Iverson, with Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith out after being suspended for their roles in a brawl with the New York Knicks last weekend and Marcus Camby sidelined with a fractured finger.

Anthony, who is serving a 15-game suspension, said it's hard just watching.

"That's what I told [Iverson]," Anthony said. "I said, `It's going hard for me watching you in a Denver Nuggets uniform when I ain't even out there.' He said he'd try to hold it down until me and J.R. and Camby get back."

But Iverson wasn't enough to keep the Nuggets from losing 101-96 to the Sacramento Kings.

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