Because of the emotion present tonight upon announcement of the starting lineup, a lineup which included point guard Allen Iverson, it seemed nothing that happened within the actual game could actually match those first few moments.
And although no one would claim the game did -- and what could? -- the 76ers played with more energy than we've seen.
Still, that did not mean victory: The Denver Nuggets won, 93-83.
The loss extends the Sixers losing streak to 10 games. The Sixers drop to 5-16; Denver improves to 16-5.
The Sixers were ahead 65-60 and looked on their way to recording a surprise victory over a very good Western Conference team. Quite quickly -- spanning the end of the third quarter and into the fourth -- the Nuggets went on a 17-0 run, taking a 77-65 lead.
The man they came to see, Iverson, finished with 11 points on 4 for 11 from the field with 5 rebounds and 6 assists.
Andre Iguodala, the man they didn't necessarily come to see, but who's been the main attraction since Iverson left, finished with 31 points on 11 for 20 shooting.He scored 18 of those points in the first half.
For nearly three quarters, the Nuggets could not make a shot. For just over a quarter, it seemed they could not miss. The Nuggets finished the game 11 for 17 from the three-point line.Their point guard, Chauncey Billups, finished with 31. He had only 8 points in the first half.
When Iverson left the game with :45 seconds left, he received a standing ovation. He played 37 minutes.