Philadelphia played for the second straight night without its disgruntled star Saturday, losing 86-84 to the Orlando Magic in a game that could serve as a confidence booster for the sagging 76ers, who've lost seven straight.
Chris Webber turned in one of his better performances of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Equally important, he got his teammates involved in the offense with a team-high eight assists.
"We played winning basketball," Cheeks said. "It's unfortunate we lost that game."
The Magic lost at home to Philadelphia, with Iverson scoring 39 and making a game-winning shot on Nov. 3. Coach Brian Hill wasn't surprised by the effort that nearly enabled the 76ers to leave Amway Arena with another victory.
"The're a team that has something to prove. They want to prove they can win without the guy, and they enjoy playing without him," Hill said.
Iverson was sent home before Friday night's home loss against Washington and told he would not make the trip to Orlando, either.
Sixers president Ed Snider said the seven-time All-Star, who has clashed with coaches throughout his 11-year career, will be traded. How long it will take to move Iverson is anybody's guess.
Without him, Webber has been more productive. He had 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the loss to the Wizards and had a chance to give the 76ers the lead Saturday night when he drove the lane and attempted a difficult shot with 10.4 seconds left.
Webber thought he was fouled, but there was no call.
"That's just the way things have been going," Webber said.
"You stick to a lot of cliches right now because cliches are really true, you just really hear them a lot. This is when your character is tested, when you go through certain situations. We've just got to keep fighting and sticking together, and we'll make our breaks."
Howard's rebound and short bank shot gave Orlando an 85-81 lead with 52.9 seconds remaining. Kyle Korver cut Philadelphia's deficit to one with a three-point play, however the 76ers wasted two opportunities to tie or take the lead down the stretch.
Nevertheless, the 76ers felt they made some progress.
"Allen's a great basketball player. I love playing with him, but when he is not in the game things have to change because you don't have a guy who can come in and score 30 points," Korver said. "We are going to go through Chris more and get the ball into the low post and at the elbow. I thought we did a good job of that in parts of tonight's game."
Cheeks reiterated before the game that he and Iverson's teammates are focused on trying to do whatever's needed to stop the club's slide -- not the unhappy franchise player's future.
The 76ers led by 20 points in the second quarter against Washington on Friday night, only to fall apart after halftime and lost 113-98. They trailed Orlando 53-50 at the half and 71-70 after three quarters.
Webber and Andre Iguodala, who finished with 19 points, kept Philadelphia close against Orlando, but couldn't get their team over the hump.
Steven Hunter missed two free throws that would have given the 76ers their first lead since 11-10. On two other occasions, shot clock violations hampered the bid to stop the losing streak.
- Hall of Famer and former 76ers star Julius Erving watched the game from a courtside seat near the Philadelphia bench.
- The Magic wore black pinstripe uniforms and honored former Orlando player and broadcaster Jeff Turner as part of the team's "Commitment to the Past" program. He was a member of the franchise's inaugural team in 1989-90 and played seven seasons in Orlando.