Sixers spoil Iguodala's return to Philly
Philadelphia, PA – Spencer Hawes recorded a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds to help the Philadelphia 76ers spoil Andre Iguodala's homecoming with an 84-75 victory over the Denver Nuggets in the season opener for both teams at Wells Fargo Center.
Hawes also registered five blocks, while Jrue Holiday netted 14 points and handed out 11 assists for the new-look Sixers, who were playing without key offseason acquisition Andrew Bynum, who is sidelined indefinitely with a right knee injury.
"A grinded-out win to say the least," Sixers coach Doug Collins remarked. "Spencer was our ace of spades and it was nice to see our new guys out there getting acclimated."
Iguodala, who was shipped to Denver in the four-team deal that landed Bynum in Philadelphia, spent his first eight seasons in the City of Brotherly Love after the club used the ninth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft to select the University of Arizona product.
"It was kind of emotional," Iguodala said of his return. "It was taxing a little bit during the game. I was thinking too much."
The All-Star swingman finished with 11 points, while Ty Lawson led the way with 16 points and seven assists for the Nuggets, who finished 38-28 last season before losing in seven games to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.
Iguodala hit a fall away jumper for the game's first points and the Nuggets proceeded to grab an early 6-3 lead, but the Sixers reeled off nine straight points to take a 12-6 edge just over four minutes into the contest.
Denver scored six straight to pull even, but after a Thaddeus Young layup, Jason Richardson and Dorell Wright buried back-to-back 3-pointers to press the lead to 20-12 with just over three minutes left in the first.
Andre Miller helped the Nuggets battle back, as he scored the team's final six points of the frame to bring Denver within 25-22 at the end of the first.
Philadelphia led throughout a sloppy second quarter until Lawson nailed a triple from the top of the key to tie the game at 38-38 with just under two minutes left in the half.
It was the last bucket the Nuggets would score before the break, as Hawes scored five of the Sixers' next eight points to send the home team into the locker room with a 46-38 advantage.
Denver pulled within six early in the third, but a 9-2 surge from the Sixers saw their lead balloon to 59-46 with just over 6 1/2 minutes left in the third.
The Nuggets countered with a 6-0 spurt to pull within seven, but Philadelphia scored the final six points in the third to take a 13-point lead into the final frame.
Denver made its way back into the game with a 14-3 run midway through the fourth, as back-to-back buckets from Lawson made it a 71-70 contest with just under five minutes remaining.
Holiday was able to quell the surge however, as his three-point play sparked an 8-1 Sixers surge to help the home team pull away for good.
The Nuggets had won four of their last five season openers ... Wright finished with 14 points and seven rebounds for the Sixers ... Denver dominated the paint, outscoring the Sixers 48-26 ... Philadelphia turned 22 Denver turnover into 24 points.