Ariza scores career-high 40, Wizards thump 76ers 122-103 on Iverson celebration night
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Trevor Ariza made eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 40 points to help the Washington Wizards win their sixth straight game, 122-103 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
Ariza made all six 3-point attempts in the first quarter for 24 points and finished 14 of 23 from the floor overall.
The 76ers lost their 13th straight game on the night they retired Allen Iverson's No. 3. Iverson had his number sent to the rafters, fit between Maurice Cheeks' No. 10 and Charles Barkley's No. 34.
The Sixers had a rare sellout of 20,856 for Iverson's triumphant homecoming. The fans, though, saw the same old sorry Sixers.
Ariza had plenty of help for a Wizards team making a run in the Eastern Conference. John Wall had 17 points and 16 assists, and Marcin Gortat had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Ariza, averaging 14.3 points, seemed like he would top his career high of 33 in the first 12 minutes. The Sixers were helpless as the 6-foot-8 forward made his 3-point shots with the ease of a pop-a-shot contest. With the building buzzing over Iverson's retirement ceremony, Ariza silenced them at stretches with six 3s and 9 of 10 shooting overall, helping the Wizards storm out to a 15-point lead.
Wall had the assist on most of those looks and finished the quarter with eight.
The fans were mostly distracted by the parade of former greats the Sixers trotted out for Iverson's big night. They went wild for Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and former team president Pat Croce.
But they came for the MVP known as The Answer.
The Sixers may as well have turned the arena into an AI museum. Four banners greeted fans at the main concourse entrance, and photos of him were plastered all around the arena. The merchandise stands sold Iverson jerseys for $130, and lower level tickets were going for as much for $1,280 on Stubhub about an hour before the 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
The fans loved him, and he blew them kisses after the No. 3 was raised to show how much he loved them back.
"I am Philly," Iverson said. "It's always going to be that way."
Iverson's return injected a rare dose of excitement into a franchise playing some of the worst basketball in the league. The Sixers, in full-blown rebuilding mode, lost their 12th straight home game.
The Wizards made some history as well, scoring a Wells Fargo Center record 74 points in the first half and led by 12.
Perhaps fueled by Iverson's ceremony, the Sixers went on a 9-0 run in the third to trim the gap to 12 points. It just wasn't enough.
Tony Wroten led the Sixers with 19 points and Thaddeus Young had 17.
Notes: Ariza's previous career best was at Houston on Oct. 31, 2009. ... Trevor Booker had 14 points and Bradley Beal 11, giving the Wizards five starters in double figures. ... Ariza also had four steals.