Professional Game Coverage: Detroit 101, Philadelphia 97

Detroit News

Pistons win in Allen Iverson’s return,” by Chris McCosky

Just (Iverson’s) presence alone helped. Hamilton was able to rest for nine minutes in the fourth quarter. He came back strong and sealed the victory with two clutch jumpers in the final 2:29.

“They wanted to leave me out there, but I told them to take me out (at the end of the third) so I could rest,” said Hamilton, who finished with 14 points. “I don’t want to overkill myself to the point where I start playing on one leg again. Allen gave me a chance to rest and I came back rested and made my shots.”

A.I. adapts to coming off the bench,” by Chris McCosky

He doesn’t love it — that much is clear. But if what he said Sunday is truly how he feels, then Allen Iverson is going to do everything in his power to make this coming-off-the-bench thing work.

“You know, a person with my resume and all the things I’ve done in this league, to be coming off the bench, I just thought that would be tough for me mentally,” he said, after returning to the Pistons for the first time since Feb. 25 and scoring eight points in the Pistons 101-97 victory over the 76ers. “I know I can get through the whole thing physically, but mentally it was tough for me.

“But I just thought about the big picture and that’s helping my teammates get wins. The more I thought about that, the more I relished the challenge of coming off the bench.”

Detroit Free Press

Allen Iverson returns after 16 games out, Pistons beat his old team,” by George Sipple

“Bodies were live, guys were much better and it was a good game for us to get,” Curry said. “It was a tough team for us to play, especially on a back-to-back. They’re young and athletic. They’re not just athletic but they’re fast. The difference is you can play athletic guys but Andre (Iguodala) and Thaddeus Young really get out and run. They are as fast as any wings in the league. Any time we turned the ball over, they are out and running and making it difficult to get back. Wedid a much better job the second half taking care of the basketball and that’s what gave us the chance to win.”

After making nine turnovers in the first half, the Pistons had two the rest of the game.

Allen Iverson ‘frustrated’ about those questioning time off for injury,” by George Sipple

Iverson said he was frustrated by people questioning why he had been out so long.

“You get all the praise in the world for being a warrior … and then when I get an injury that I’ve never had before and an injury that actually bothered me the way it did, people started to question me,” he said. “That was the toughest thing. I had this warrior image my whole career, and then I get one injury where I can’t go — I think it’s more or less people can’t believe it — so they expect me to play the Superman role every time.”

Booth Newspapers

Allen Iverson returns, Pistons knock off Sixers,” by A. Sherrod Blakely

But it was clear Iverson’s teammates were pleased to have the 10-time all-star back.

“It’s definitely fun,” said Will Bynum, when asked about playing with Iverson. “It’s like teams have to pick their poison; it opens things up out there. We can get out and run and have some fun and bring some excitement in here. I love playing with him.”

Pistons’ Kwame Brown delivers in post vs. Sixers,” by A. Sherrod Blakely

Brown had 13 points and 11 rebounds, giving him his second double-double as a Piston.

“Kwame was huge,” Pistons coach Michael Curry said.

Because Philadelphia starts a relatively small frontcourt, Curry wanted to establish a post presence early.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Pistons’ high-flying finish puts away 76ers,” by Kate Fagan

Outside the Palace of Auburn Hills, with snow coating cars, it looked like midwinter. But inside, the 76ers and the Detroit Pistons, battling for postseason position, looked much closer to spring.

Which they are.

Last night, either the Pistons were the more desperate team or they received a boost from Allen Iverson’s return. Maybe it was a little bit of both: They ended a 101-97 win over the Sixers with an 18-8 run.

DiLeo hopes streakiness will level off,” by Kate Fagan

Sixers center Samuel Dalembert strained his right calf in the first quarter last night and did not return.

A Motor City Loss,” by Kate Fagan

After the game, Iverson said: “I’m just as happy as I can be to come back and be around the guys and get in front of the fans and contribute and get a win. And now my whole thing is trying to be the best 6th man I can be, the best 6th man in the league.”

Philadelphia Daily News

Silent whistles haunt Sixers in loss to Pistons,” by Bernard Fernandez

The schedule is not nearly so cheery now. At 37-35, the Sixers not only have fallen to the sixth seed, but the Pistons (36-37), currently at No. 7, have closed within 1 1/2 games of them. Next up is tomorrow night’s home game against the smokin’-hot Atlanta Hawks, with another meeting against the Pistons set for April 4 at the Wachovia Center. Two games against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the best record in the league, also are on a stretch run that has melted down to just 10 more regular-season contests.

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