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Sixers Notebook: Nick Nurse wishes real Allen Iverson, not the statue, was around more

PHILADELPHIA — Always looking for an edge, Nick Nurse reached out to Sixers icon Allen Iverson earlier this season, and again Friday when AI was honored by the club with a life size sculpture and ceremony at the 76ers Training Complex in Camden, N.J.

Nurse wasn’t too proud to divulge before the Sixers opposed the Orlando Magic Friday at Wells Fargo Center that being around The Answer at the noisy celebration made him a little melancholy.

“I said this over there,” Nurse said. “You can’t take for granted the nights when you get to put on that jersey and then go and give it everything you’ve got. I think it’s what you should always try to be, and he was. That, to me, is more of the message that I want here. When I met with Allen earlier this season I said ‘Man, I’d really like to have you be around a little bit more and like to try to get that message to the guys.’ I think that it’s an incredible honor for me to coach in this league and it zooms by so fast.”

Iverson was feted Friday by Sixers owner Josh Harris and basketball’s Pat Croce, Billy King, Larry Brown, Rasheed Wallace, Eric Snow and Aaron McKie.  Among other celebrities were football’s Terrell Owens and Freddie Mitchell, who both played for the Eagles while Iverson’s career here was active.

Iverson, whose “talking about practice” rant, long part of Sixers lore, has turned into a commercial with Kevin Hart and Steph Curry, kissed the sculpture, saluted the crowd and had a little fun with Brown.

“Me and Coach didn’t always see eye to eye on things,” Iverson said. “He wanted the same thing that I wanted out of my career – team goals. Once I bought into that, that’s what turned me into an MVP. That turned us into a team of winners, that could go to the finals and compete with the best teams.”

Iverson was league MVP in 2001, when Nurse was 33. On Friday Nurse felt some of the emotion and energy he missed.

“You could kind of see the gravity of his iconic being,” Nurse said. “You could just see it and it was really cool to be a part of it.”

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Nurse chuckled when it was suggested the Sixers in Game 81 were in pre-playoff mode.

“I’ve been in pre-playoff mode for about the last 25,” Nurse said. “Listen, I’m trying to get us to really play our guts out. I’m not holding anything back. We’re not shaving minutes. We’re not holding plays back, we’re not holding end of game stuff back, (or) defensive schemes. It’s another day at the office.”

At the same time Nurse played a lineup Friday featuring most of the players who were supposed to be part of the plan this season. Tyrese Maxey was back on the floor with Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Kelly Oubre and Kyle Lowry.

“It’s certainly good to see,” Nurse said. “I think that I’m looking forward to it. But I’m always kind of seeing who’s available, start rolling with it and not get too carried away that it’s going to be the same crew the next game, or the next game or the next game.”

The Sixers entered their game with the Magic with six straight victories, all of those with a different starting lineup. They scratched forward KJ Martin (left big toe contusion).

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NOTES >> The 15-man playoff roster isn’t due until April 15. That said, the Sixers have only one decision to make, and it’s not a biggie although guard Ricky Council IV has a growing fandom. … WNBA and Cardinal O’Hara basketball star Natasha Cloud rang the Sixers’ ceremonial bell Friday night.

Source: Berkshire mont

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