Sixers top Nuggets in mixed Iguodala return

Serving eight years as the swing man for Philadelphia, the city that drafted the former All-Star forward in 2004 welcomed back their former face of the franchise. Andre Iguodala received a warm welcome from his former teammates, but did not receive the same from the typically loyal Philadelphia fans. And what was the point?

Looking back at the career Iguodala had with the Sixers, it is easy to criticize certain aspects of the highly paid "star". Averaging 15.3 points per game, 4.9 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game is not the superstar status numbers that the city once saw with Allen Iverson, but there was never a person who could question Iguodala's leadership.

Sure, Iguodala was overpaid, but that's not his fault. It was former Sixers'  GM Billy King's. And sure, Iguodala is a Nugget now, but he didn't ask to leave and never complained about the mediocre Philadelphia squad. He was simply traded in a move that brought in exactly what the Sixers have been searching for since the departure of Dikembe Mutumbo in Andrew Bynum.

Upon the announcement of Iguodala in Denver's lineup, the fans began their boo's. From the first time he touched the ball, the boo birds began once again. The Sixers made the classy move as they reminded the fans of the 2012 playoffs on the big screen, but a standing ovation led to more disgraced fans after the video came to end.

As for the home opener, the Sixers jumped out to a quick start. Outscoring the Nuggets in each of the first three quarters, Philadelphia seemed to be on their way to an easy win. A soft fourth quarter by the Sixers made the game interesting, but in the final minutes, center Spencer Hawes carried Philadelphia to the 84-75 win over Denver.

Hawes led the Sixers with 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. The solid performance by Hawes even led to a few premature M.V.P. chants by some excited Philadelphia fans. For the Nuggets, Ty Lawson recorded 16 points, while Iguodala finished second on the team with 11 points.

With the win, the Sixers began their 2012-2013 campaign with a win without All-Star center Andrew Bynum. Philadelphia was troubled throughout the game with both offensive and defensive rebounding, and missed many opportunities at second chance points. Once the Sixers get their franchise center into the lineup, both the offense and defense will be much improved from a team that was challenged on the board Wednesday night.


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