THE 76ERS ARE fighting the wrong fight. Why, apparently, stop now?
This time, their misdirected energy has led to Billy King contacting NBA senior vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson about a confrontation between Sixers star Allen Iverson and referee Marc Davis.
In a bizarre turn of events just after the conclusion of the Sixers' 94-88 loss to the visiting Chicago Bulls on Saturday, Iverson approached Davis, one of the three officials who had worked the game, and had to be restrained by teammates.
Later, King, the Sixers' president and general manager, had to calm down Iverson in the hallway outside the team's locker room after it appeared Iverson wanted to locate the officials' dressing room.
Iverson, in a postgame interview by his locker-room cubicle, told reporters, "I never had a referee tell me he'd whup my ***, but that's the way it went... I basically lost it after that. That was just strange."
He also said, "I thought at times it got personal... "
Asked which referee he meant, Iverson responded, "I don't even know his name."
He then identified the referee in question as "the bald-headed guy."
Of the three officials, including Scott Foster and Robbie Robinson, only Davis is bald.
In an e-mail response to the Daily News yesterday, King said, "I have spoken to Stu Jackson and will wait to hear back."
In another e-mail response, Jackson said: "The incident is under investigation."
By league rule, the referees were not permitted to answer questions or comment about the situation.
Iverson had 31 points in the game but handed out 11 turnovers, one below his career and franchise record, set March 8 against Golden State. He shot 9-for-24 from the floor, including just 2-for-10 in the second half, and was involved in animated discussions with the officials all night.
The Sixers did not have Chris Webber (leg) for the game, which did not include an inordinate number of fouls called - 26 against the Bulls, 22 against the Sixers - but did include four technical fouls, one each against the Bulls' Andres Nocioni, Tyson Chandler and Kirk Hinrich, and one against Iverson. All but the one against Hinrich came in the first quarter.
"I was upset about a lot of the calls that were made in the game," Iverson said. "I thought at times it got personal, because a lot of the stuff that I was saying on the floor was like going back and forth with each other all through the game, and then when the game was over, it was crazy. I never had a referee tell me he'd whup my ***, but that's the way it went... I basically lost it after that. That was just strange."
Later, Iverson said: "But, I mean, it had been going on all game. I thought there were a lot of missed calls. I thought there were a lot of bad calls. I just got upset about the whole thing. I went to talk to [apparently indicating Davis] after the game, and we got into a little argument, and he said he'd whup my ***."
Iverson said there had been "words" with the referees all evening, and didn't feel that was unusual.
"I mean, not just him - him and another referee," Iverson said. "I think one of them, we didn't have any words throughout the game, but, I mean, I usually have words with referees during games, so that was natural. They didn't do anything that any other refs don't do, or it didn't seem any different than any other time, except for him saying what he'd do to me."
Iverson also said the game had not been any more physical than any other game.
"It was a regular game to me," he said. "I just thought it was a lot of bad calls. When you've got bad calls at certain times of the game, it makes it worse when it's at the end of the game, when it really matters.
"Missed calls... I think I got a couple charges on me that weren't charges. I just had a tough night all the way around. I never could get anything together out there on the basketball court. I couldn't do anything right; even if the referees were making great calls and making everything go my way, I still had a terrible game. I struggled all night...
"The way I was playing, and the decisions I made and the way I handled the ball, a high-school team could have beat us."