Return of the Sick

03.20.08 10 years ago 56 Comments

Wednesday’s big story was Allen Iverson‘s return to Philly. (If you haven’t seen the special RBK kicks A.I. wore for the occasion, click HERE.) Very cool scene as the sold-out arena showed A.I. lots of love during intros and he returned the favor, coming pretty close to tearing up. The closest thing we’ve seen to it recently was when KG went back to Minneapolis earlier this year. But even that didn’t quite measure up, ’cause although both guys pretty much owned and defined their respective cities for a decade, you can’t really compare the passion of Philly fans to Minneapolis … Right before tip A.I. and Mo Cheeks shared a big hug — something of a surprise if you know their history. And after that, Iverson proceeded to drop buckets on Willie Green‘s head, finishing with 32 points, 8 dimes and 3 steals … With the game tied in the final seconds, Andre Iguodala hit Sam Dalembert on an alley-oop where Iguodala was falling down with his back to the basket and tossed it over his shoulder to Sam for the finish. We would say it was a fluke, but we actually saw those two hook up for a very similar play in a game against the Warriors a few months back … Crazy dunk by Carmelo (26 pts) over Andre Miller where ‘Dre pulled a Damon Jones move; jumping with ‘Melo at first before changing his mind in mid-air and ducking for cover … As you know, Kobe graces the cover of Dime #39, which you can still find on newsstands. We shot Kobe’s cover earlier this season when the Lakers traveled to Philly, which was where he insisted on being photo’d. Later this morning come back to and check out the behind-the-scenes video … We said in yesterday’s Smack that it would be interesting to see how the Rockets responded to the end of their 22-game win streak. And last night? They responded like a beaten-down group, getting routed in New Orleans while failing to crack 70 points. Can’t you just see Houston losing like six or seven in a row now and dropping to the bottom of the Western Conference playoff picture? … And remember what we said about David West trying to make a statement. He put up 23 points and 11 boards and looked like he was gunning for 40; he took 18 shots (not all top-of-the-key jumpers) and made 13 trips to the line. Who’s the superstar now, Skip? … Fitting that in the one game where Dikembe Mutombo brings some offense (10 pts, 13 rebs, 2 blks), the rest of the Rockets can’t score … The Cavs beating the Pistons at home isn’t a huge surprise. The Cavs beating the Pistons pretty thoroughly while out-executing and out-hustling them down the stretch is. It’s become clear that Detroit can’t just stick Tayshaun Prince on LeBron (30 pts, 7 rebs, 6 asts) anymore and leave him alone. Ever since last year’s playoffs, ‘Bron knows he can torture Prince whenever he wants. Before the next postseason meeting, Flip Saunders should study the ’07 Finals tapes and see what the Spurs did to LeBron before Mike Brown decided to put him in the post … One of our in-house Sonics fans, Associate Editor Austin Burton, has been saying for a while that the Sonics should adopt the Suns’ style of play since their personnel supports it and they always seem to at least hang in there with Phoenix when they play each other. Seattle was right there deep into the second half and could have taken the game, but simply couldn’t get stops when they needed to and couldn’t make shots when they needed to. But you could see where they might mirror the Suns. Luke Ridnour and Johan Petro were killing on the same pick-and-roll that Nash and Amare run; on one play Petro rolled to the basket and crammed on Amare, who didn’t even try to play D. On the next possession they ran the same play and Petro had a wide-open jumper in the paint … In the first half the Suns rolled out a lineup of D.J. Strawberry, Leandro Barbosa, Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Brian Skinner. They proceeded to execute the worst possession we’ve seen in a while, working the 24-second clock into single digits with hardly anyone taking a dribble and everyone afraid to shoot. Skinner let the shot clock run out when he got tied up by Kevin Durant and fell down holding the ball … On a critical second-half possession, Donyell Marshall jacked a three with about 20 seconds showing on the shot clock. Can they just cut him? … E-mail sent during Hedo Turkoglu‘s 39-point explosion against the Wizards: “Hedo clearly sold his soul to the devil last summer.” But with Orlando down one in the final seconds, Hedo (or “Tito” according to DeShawn Stevenson‘s post-game interview) shook free for an open, albeit off-balance, layup that he couldn’t convert … The Heat are just comically bad. Last night they scored 54 points in a loss to the Raptors, never cracking 20 in a single quarter and scoring a total of 19 in the second and fourth quarters. What other ugliness was there? How about 25 percent shooting from the field (20-for-78), a negative-15 margin on the boards and the fact that Chris Quinn had to play all 48 minutes … Chris Bosh returned from his knee injury, putting up 8 points and 8 boards in 22 minutes … As if attendance isn’t enough of a problem in Miami, what is the sales strategy now? You’ve got fair-weather fans in a transplant city and you’re supposed to to convince them to shell out for a team with the worst record in the League, no superstar, and one All-Star whose talent is only truly appreciated by true hoopheads. If the coach doesn’t even wanna stick around — and he get PAID to be there — why would a fan give up their money to show up? … ESPN Classic was running a marathon of NCAA championship games, and during the day we caught the end of the 1989 Michigan/Seton Hall game. You know the one: Glen Rice dropped buckets all over the place, and Rumeal Robinson made two free throws with 3 seconds left to give the Wolverines the title. But watching it yesterday, we realized how horrible the foul call that sent Rumeal to the line was. Seriously, he was barely bumped by the Seton Hall defender, if he was touched at all. It wasn’t just one of those calls that you don’t make at the end of a game; it was a call that you don’t make, period. We’ve seen more physicality in games of tag. And amazingly, no one seemed to make a big deal out of it. As one of the Dime crew noted, “If that had happened today, P.J. would be on the court choking the ref.” And can you just imagine, given the stakes, how Mike D’Antoni would have reacted? Or is Rasheed had been the one whistled? … We’re out like Donyell …

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