Toronto, Canada – PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Allen Iverson received a warm 'welcome home' from Philadelphia fans on Monday, but his return could not prevent the 76ers from losing 93-83 to the Denver Nuggets.
In his first game back with the team where he spent more than 10 seasons, Iverson scored 11 points and had six assists. "The Answer" conceded he was not yet in game shape but said he appreciated the fans' reaction to him.
"It's frustrating not being in the rhythm and shape I want to be in and still trying to compete and help my team mates win games," Iverson, who finished 4-for-11 shooting, told reporters.
The Northwest division-leading Nuggets (16-5) posted their fourth win in a row on the back of 31 points from Chauncey Billups, who arrived in Denver via a trade that included Iverson.
Billups scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter, where the Nuggets started with a 14-0 run to seize control.
Carmelo Anthony, the NBA's leading scorer, scored 14 points to bring his streak of 20 or more in the season's first 20 games to a halt.
The last player to score at least 20 points in the first 21 games of a season was Iverson in the 2005-06 campaign.
Iverson was drafted No. 1 overall by Philadelphia in 1996 and led the team to the NBA Finals and won league MVP in 2001.
The 34-year-old, 10-times All Star was traded to Denver at the end of 2006 and has also played for Detroit and Memphis. He left the Grizzlies this year in a dispute over playing time and after a brief "retirement" accepted the 76ers' offer of a return.
Philadelphia (5-16) are without injured guards Louis Williams (jaw) and Jrue Holiday (rotator cuff) and have now lost 10 games in a row for the first time since 2006.
Andre Iguodala led the way with 31 points for Philadelphia, who led for most of the first three quarters and had a 62-55 advantage with less than three minutes left in the third.
Denver made 11 three-pointers and 24 free throws, including a perfect 11-for-11 at the line from Billups, who added eight rebounds and eight assists.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Phoenix; Editing by Peter Rutherford)