Wearing a Lou Williams No. 23 jersey and a red Sixers Liberty Bell hat sideways, Iverson looked every bit like a guy who hadn't played in an NBA game since February 2010.
He looked like a shell of his former self.
Iverson's presence provided a little extra juice to the Wells Fargo Center, but The Answer to the Sixers' hopes of staying alive in the playoffs was not sitting next to chief executive officer Adam Aron in the stands.
There was nothing magical about his appearance, nothing more than a legend coming home to provide a bit of support.
Still, there was something Iversonesque about the Sixers' effort in a must-win situation to push this to limit, to a Game 7.
They played hard - Iverson hard. They played like it was their last game, which it could have been for the 2011-12 season.
It wasn't pretty. It wasn't neat. It wasn't perfect.
But it was all heart, dug deep from that reserve in the Wells Fargo Center that Iverson always seemed to tap into.
To be honest, it's the way that these surprising Sixers had played all season. It just seemed a bit more pronounced with Iverson in the house.
Who knows? Perhaps the next all-expenses trip the Sixers pay for will bring Iverson to Boston on Saturday, because that's where the Sixers will be after their 82-75 victory.
Now this series that was supposed to be an easy walk for the Celtics into the Eastern Conference finals comes down to a winner-take-all Game 7.
Sure, the Celtics will be favored. They will be at home and this is a situation with which they have plenty of experience.
But this is the last thing they wanted to see.
They didn't want to have a Game 7 against a scrappy Sixers team that has shown game after game that it doesn't matter that it doesn't know what it isn't supposed to know.
The Sixers didn't know they weren't supposed to be able to win in Boston, but they already did that in Game 2.
The Sixers didn't know that they weren't supposed to fight through a close-out game against a savvy, veteran squad with a core that has an NBA championship in its pocket. But that's what they did on Wednesday.
We all know what they aren't supposed to know for Game 7. We also know that doesn't matter.
"Game 7s are what they are," said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "It's nice to have it at home, but you still have to go get it.
"We have to go out and play good basketball. You can't rely on just being at home. In the end, it always comes down to players making shots and making plays. That's what it will be on Saturday."
I'm not into metaphysical influences. It was just a coincidence that right after the Iverson highlight video played at 5:52 of the third quarter, the Sixers finally found an offensive flow that separated them from the Celtics.
Outscoring Boston by 14-10 might not have seemed like a huge differential, but in a game when both teams struggled to score, having a 60-56 lead going into the final 12 minutes was big.
When the Sixers went up 70-59 with 7:15 left, the frigid Celtics were looking at a virtually insurmountable deficit.
"[The Sixers] are athletic, young and very fast," Rivers said. "They play with a lot of energy, and it's difficult for our guys. This matchup was going to be hard because they have a quickness advantage. Our guys knew that."
Now it's on to Game 7.
Some might say that the Sixers have nothing to lose, that they are playing with house money.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
They have just as much to lose as the Celtics: a trip to the Eastern Conference finals.
To understand how rare that is for this franchise, all you have to do is remember that the last time the Sixers played in one of those was in 2001, when Iverson led them to the NBA Finals.
"We've given ourselves a chance," coach Doug Collins said. "All we wanted to do was win, go to Boston for Game 7 and see what happens.
"Now I want more. We're going to get greedy and want more. We fought for this. We played hard. Every possession was a battle.
"Our mind-set is not, 'No matter what happens, everything will be OK.' I want our mind-set to be, 'Let's go in there and get the win.' "
Contact John Smallwood at email@example.com.
For recent columns, go to