Back for the First Time

12.08.09 9 years ago 41 Comments

Somebody forgot to tell the Nuggets they were supposed to play the role of the Washington Generals. On a night where the return of Allen Iverson to Philly was supposed to be the feel-good story, it was as if the Nuggets gave the Sixers three quarters to have their “Welcome Home” party before calling the cops and shutting sh*t down. Going on a 22-3 run that turned a game-long deficit into a double-digit lead in the fourth, Chauncey (31 pts, 8 rebs, 8 asts), J.R. Smith and Ty Lawson reminded the Sixers that A.I. alone isn’t enough to fix the backcourt and sent Philly to its 10th straight loss … The pre-game scene was nuts. Wachovia Center was packed with the buzz of a Rocky Balboa fight well before Iverson was introduced to a monster ovation, as he went over to kiss the 76ers logo at midcourt while the crowd challenged the volume of a Michael Jackson concert. Andre Iguodala was still introduced last, but it was almost an afterthought by then … However, in case anybody was wondering whether Iverson would come in and take Iguodala’s spot as the go-to guy, Iguodala responded by going into Takeover mode right away. He got the Sixers started with a steal and breakaway dunk, had some monster dunks and pretty jumpers, then in the last minute of the second quarter, spun past Arron Afflalo on the baseline for a backwards dunk that gave him 18 points in the first half. Iguodala (31 pts, 11-21 FG, 3 stls) even threw in a 90-foot bomb just after the halftime buzzer … Iverson finished with 11 points (4-11 FG), five boards and six assists in 37 minutes. After taking it right to the rim and missing a layup on his first touch, he seemed intent on passing the ball for most of the night — except during a third-quarter sequence when Iguodala was on the bench and Iverson attacked the basket on consecutive possessions, getting himself to the free throw line while Philly was still clinging to a lead and needed a boost. When A.I. scored his first bucket, a tip-in of a Sam Dalembert miss, the building had a collective orgasm … Sixers announcer Ed Pinckney described a “Euro Step” that Chauncey pulled on Iverson one time, and the play-by-play guy said, “A Euro Step?” like Pinckney had just invented the phrase and had no idea what he was talking about. “Yes, a EURO Step,” Ed shot back, putting some extra bass in his voice like, “Don’t ever question me, little man.” … Maybe NBA TV’s Rick Kamla set the tone when he said Iverson has “some of the most expressive eyes in NBA history” — we’ll get out research department on that ASAP — but we found ourselves paying a lot of attention to A.I.’s facial expressions. His “I didn’t touch him” post-foul face looks like somebody who just witnessed a dog get hit by a car right in front of them … Donovan McNabb was in the crowd, so the Sixers sent over their sideline reporter to ask him exactly one question: “I bet you’re here to support the return of Allen Iverson, huh?” You got the impression from McNabb’s half-hearted answer that he might not be A.I.’s biggest fan, probably precisely because of what happened in that interview; Iverson overshadows McNabb in Philly at every turn … Imagine the shock of somebody who tuned into Jazz/Spurs midway through the third quarter and heard Utah’s announcers say, “Uh-oh. (Matt) Bonner‘s in.” And they weren’t even being facetious at all. Bonner was lighting up the Jazz in the first half as the Spurs built an eight-point lead, and he kept it up throughout; the Red Rocket finished with a career-high 28 points and helped San Antone withstand another night where Tony Parker and Tim Duncan were the only other ones doing anything … That said, there’s absolutely no reason Bonner should have been the guy taking the potential game-winning shot. Utah was up by one with 10 seconds left after Carlos Boozer (27 pts) had blown a pair of huge free throws, and when the D kept the ball away from Parker on the inbounds. Bonner and Duncan (23 pts, 11 rebs) tried to run a two-man game. But Duncan couldn’t get the ball, and Bonner ended up trying to shake his man off the dribble and threw up some layup-type thing that actually went halfway down the basket before popping out … The actual game-winner came courtesy Deron Williams (17 pts, 11 asts). After Duncan’s free throws gave the Spurs a lead with 28 seconds left, you expected Deron and Boozer to set up a pick-and-pop or something. But Deron just came right down and wasted no time sticking a jumper near the top of the key … Mehmet Okur hit some big shots, but on a critical possession in the fourth quarter he had George Hill posted up Mouse In The House and couldn’t even get a shot off. The Jazz announcers even admitted that Hill was too strong for Okur even though Memo has like 80 pounds on him … Other stat lines from Monday: David Lee had 17 points and 10 boards in a win over the Blazers, while Brandon Roy scored 27 in the loss; and Kevin Durant posted 28 points and James Harden dropped 26 off the bench as OKC beat the Warriors … We’re out like being scared of Bonner …

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