The Philadelphia 76ers caped off their preseason training camp at Duke Tuesday with a victory in their first exhibition game. The 76ers stormed back from a 15-point deficit to top the Wizards 114-107 in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
For former Duke captain Nate James, the Philadelphia 76ers come-from-behind 114-107 win over the ACC-filled Washington Wizards in Cameron Indoor Stadium Tuesday meant more than just a preseason victory.
“It was definitely important to get this win,” James said. “I told someone earlier, that on my senior night I lost to Maryland and Juan Dixon and all those guys, as well as losing to North Carolina in the last time we played. So to get a little redemption, it felt really well.”
Tuesday’s contest concluded the 76ers’ stay in Durham, where they held their week-long preseason training camp. President and General Manager Billy King, who played for the Blue Devils in the 1980s, said the team enjoyed its stay and already plans to return next year. In his first season as head coach, Jim O’Brien echoed that same sentiment.
“Any time you have the chance to play at a venue like this, it’s a thrill,” O’Brien said. “To have training camp down here, and stay at the Washington Duke Inn, this was an ideal setting to get away and really focus on our game.”
The 76ers stormed back from a 15-point deficit, led by Marc Jackson’s 15 points and five rebounds in the fourth quarter. Jackson finished with 21 points and Allen Iverson added 16 of his own in just two quarters of action.
With under two minutes to go and the score tied at 106, Jackson secured position in the low post and spun baseline around Wizard forward Michael Ruffin for a difficult layup that gave Philadelphia the lead for good. Moments later, he put the game out of reach when rookie Andre Iguodala drove into the lane and fed a cutting Jackson for a three-point play.
“We put a heavy premium on challenging shots and getting our hands on the ball and we didn’t really kick it in until the fourth quarter,” O’Brien said. “I was very proud of that effort.”
The game marked a homecoming of sorts for James, who was participating in his first NBA game after playing abroad and in developmental leagues the past few years. The 2001 graduate scored four points, including a breakaway dunk to end the third quarter. The slam brought the mellow Cameron crowd to its feet.
“It felt good,” James said of the warm reception. “People still support me. It’s always good to come home. I know the original ‘Crazies’ weren’t there, but it felt good to get the home crowd cheer.”
The Wizards boast a number of former ACC basketball players, including Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood from North Carolina and Juan Dixon and Laron Profit from Maryland. Jamison and Haywood were both greeted with boos during introductions but were hardly taunted during the game itself.
“I’ve got so many memories here and played against some great teams,” Jamison said. “It’s fun to come back.”
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Both teams were relaxed and enjoyed the friendly Cameron atmosphere. In appreciation of the fans’ support, Iverson tossed his sneakers to a child wearing the All-Star’s Olympic jersey following the game.
“It’s been good, the people have been great to us,” Iverson said of the team’s stay at Duke. “It’s been quiet, and we haven’t had any type of distractions. I think we had a great camp here. Guys gave it all every day that they have been here.”