IF YOU THOUGHT that the Philadelphia 76ers lost Monday night, and if you thought that its gifted prodigal son had a bad night on his return - then you don't know how to read the only box score that really matters.

You see, Monday night, a city previously made of brick, glass and stone became a living, breathing, human entity - an excited parent opening its arms to welcome home

the problem child it had to let go to find his own way.

On Monday night, the brash brat-boy, finally realizing that the real gift of a gift is the gift - and not the taking advantage of it - walked into those outstretched welcoming arms and came home.

Both Philadelphia, the parent, and Allen Iverson, its child, won an amazing victory of compassion, forgiveness, respect and gratitude. And once again with family back together - the love affair continues.

Len Barry

Philadelphia