PHILADELPHIA – The only Answer the Philadelphia 76ers have is on the trading block.

The Sixers still can’t find one to their losing streak, dropping their ninth straight game, 101-81 to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

Paul Pierce and Ryan Gomes each scored 18 points, and Tony Allen had 16 for the Celtics, who won their third straight game and moved to .500 on the road. Al Jefferson added 13 rebounds for Boston, which is suddenly making a run at the wretched Atlantic Division lead.

Maybe adding someone like Allen Iverson (aka “The Answer) to the roster could put them on top of the worst division in basketball. The Celtics are one of the hot rumored destinations for Iverson, who was inactive for the fourth straight game while Philadelphia tries to trade the former MVP.

“He’s not on our team. He’s on the Sixers,” coach Doc Rivers said before the game.

Sure, but Iverson’s name on the roster is the only proof he’s still with Philadelphia, and that connection is thinner than the paper it’s printed on.

The Sixers are slumming toward one of their worst seasons in franchise history. They have lost nine straight for the first time since a 13-game losing streak in 1996-97; lost 13 of 14 overall; and have only two wins since a now long-ago 3-0 start.

Kevin Ollie led the Sixers with 14 points and Andre Iguodala had 12.

Pierce hit two 3-pointers and scored 12 points in the third quarter to help turn a tie early in the quarter into a 13-point lead. He hit one of his 3s during a 12-2 run that made it 60-48 and effectively finished off the lowly Sixers. When Pierce went deep again, it put the Celtics up 17.

Delonte West made the play of the game in the fourth quarter, making a nifty hook pass in the lane off the break to Rajon Rondo for a layup and an 80-61 lead. After Wally Szczerbiak hit a 3 a few possessions later, what was left of another minuscule crowd booed the Sixers off the court.

West, a former Saint Joseph’s standout, scored 13 points and Szczerbiak had 14.

Cavs 104, Bobcats 101

CLEVELAND – LeBron James scored 22 points and Larry Hughes made a crucial steal and two free throws in the final 30 seconds, giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a 104-101 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Hughes added 16 points and James had eight rebounds, seven assists and six turnovers for the Cavaliers, who improved to 10-2 at home and had their starting lineup back on the floor for the first time in 13 games.

Nets 108, Bucks 95

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Vince Carter scored 36 points and Jason Kidd registered his 80th career triple-double to lead the New Jersey Nets to a 108-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

Kidd finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and rookies Marcus Williams and Hassan Adams came up big in the fourth quarter as the Nets won consecutive games for only the third time this season.

Wizards 120, Nuggets 91

WASHINGTON – Gilbert Arenas led six Wizards in double figures with 34 points, and Washington outran the Denver Nuggets 120-91 on Wednesday night for its fourth victory in five games.

Carmelo Anthony led Denver with 37 points, but didn’t get nearly as much help as Arenas did in a wide-open game that featured only rare moments of tight defense.

Pacers 101, Pistons 90

INDIANAPOLIS – Jermaine O’Neal had 26 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 101-90 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

Jamaal Tinsley finished with 21 points and five assists, and Al Harrington scored 16 points for the Pacers, who won their fifth consecutive game at Conseco Fieldhouse and snapped a three-game losing streak against Detroit.

Raptors 91, Magic 84

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rookie Andrea Bargnani had a season-high 23 points and added six rebounds to help the Toronto Raptors snap a four-game losing streak with a 91-84 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

Bargnani, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, hit five 3-pointers and finished 8-of-16 from the field.

T.J. Ford added 14 points and five assists for the Raptors, who won with leading scorer and rebounder Chris Bosh out with a bruised knee.

Knicks 94, Hawks 82

NEW YORK – Eddy Curry scored 20 points and Jared Jeffries added 15 in his first start of the season to help the New York Knicks beat Atlanta 94-82 on Wednesday night.

Curry has scored at least 20 points in 11 straight games, the Knicks’ longest 20-point streak since Patrick Ewing did it in 17 consecutive games in 1993-94.

Bulls 99, Sonics 84

CHICAGO – Ben Wallace had a season-high 15 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 99-84 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on Wednesday night.

Ben Gordon added 27 points and Andres Nocioni had 20 in Chicago’s ninth victory in its last 10 games. Wallace also had five blocked shots, tying his season high.

Spurs 95, Wolves 82

SAN ANTONIO – Tim Duncan scored 24 points and Tony Parker added 23 to lift the San Antonio Spurs to a 95-82 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.


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