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76ers' Iverson, Webber arrive late for game

THE BALTIMORE SUN

PHILADELPHIA -- If last night marked the final home appearance for Allen Iverson in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform, it certainly added a bizarre end to a 10-year career that has ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Iverson and Chris Webber arrived a few minutes apart - separately - just after the 7 p.m. start to a meaningless next-to-last regular-season game between the 76ers and the playoff-bound New Jersey Nets. Philadelphia won, 91-88.

Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks seemed unaware of the status of his two stars during his pre-game chat with reporters, and president and general manager Billy King maintained his composure until finally blowing up after one too many questions.

"They were supposed to be here, they're not playing because of injury," King said in what turned into an expletive-laced tirade. "Would I like them to be here? Yeah. I knew they weren't playing this morning. I can't sit here with a stopwatch. When they get here, they'll be fined.

"We didn't make the playoffs this year. I've got a team that stinks. I've got a lot of ... work to do. And this is a distraction. Am I ticked off? Your ... right I am. Is that what you wanted to hear? You ... heard it."

This marks the second time in the past three years that the 76ers (38-43) failed to make the playoffs.

Last night's scene was reminiscent of other incidents when Iverson showed up late, most notably before Game 6 of the 2003 Eastern Conference semifinals against Detroit, claiming a flat tire.

On Monday, Iverson had talked openly about the possibility of playing his last season with the 76ers.

Neither Iverson nor Webber came out of the dressing room for the game and neither was available for comment. King said after the game that he had yet to speak with the players.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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