Philadelphia 76ers

A.I. reminiscing on the good ol’ Philly days

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary since Allen Iverson left Philadelphia for Denver. So, now that some time has passed, why don’t you tell us how you really feel about the trade A.I.

I know they didn’t get enough”” Iverson, 32, said. “In my heart, they know they didn’t get enough. The fans in Philadelphia know they didn’t get enough. . . . (The 76ers) just wanted me out of there.”

“If I was still in Philadelphia, I don’t think they would be in the predicament that they’re in right now,” Iverson said. “The way the East is, I would think that we would be right there in the hunt. . . . I look at (Philadelphia’s) games right now, and it looks like a rec league game or an AAU game when you see the attendance there. It just looks dull.”

“I always said I wanted to end my career as a Sixer,” Iverson said. “And I wanted that so bad for my fans. . . . We had lost a lot of games. . . . I came into a meeting and I told them that I didn’t think, the way we were going, we could win. And I voiced my opinion on what I thought we could do to help us win. And they didn’t care what I thought.”

Wait, didn’t get enough? What’s next? Are you going to try and tell us the Minnesota didn’t get enough for Kevin Garnett either? There was no way to replace the Answer on that team. Philly could have received 10 players in return for A.I. and they still wouldn’t have the same heart.

And since we mentioned K.G., we’re still not over the fact that Minnesota let Iverson slip through their fingers when Garnett and the Timberwolves were their lowest low. We love watching the Celtics and the Nuggets with their new faces, but, damn, Garnett and Iverson would have been a match made in heaven.


[]: Denver, Philadelphia remodeled by Iverson deal

NBA General

Around the Rim: Heeee’s Baaaack

1. Waiting on Wade no more
Dwyane Wade is back on the Miami Heat’s active roster and the playoff bound Eastern Conference teams have got to be sweating bullets. Flash took the court yesterday for the first time in a month and a half and scored 12 points in 27 minutes, but the Heat were unable to welcome their superstar back in proper fashion as they fell to the Bobcats by eight points, 111-103. Wade struggled from the field (3-9 FG) but still managed to dish out eight assists in the loss. But the Heat are still in good shape as they prepare for the post season. They are currently sitting in the fourth spot in the East and appear to have the Southeast Division wrapped up after Washington’s injury problems have basically taken them out of contention. However, the loss pretty much took away any chance Miami had to gain home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

2. Suns burn LA

Kobe Bryant scored 34 points and handed out seven assists but it wasn’t enough to knock of the Suns. In what could be a first round playoff preview, Phoenix beat the Lakers 115-107 in the star studded Staples Center in Los Angeles. Steve Nash continued his trek for a third consecutive MVP award as he led the Suns in scoring (25) and assists (11). Phoenix has now beaten LA in nine of the last 11 regular season contests between the two clubs and what’s worse for the Lakers is that the loss moves them into the seventh seed in the West, just three games ahead of the teams who are on the outside of the playoff picture. The Lakers must now win all of their five remaining games if they are going to prevent Phil Jackson from setting a new personal low for wins in a season.

3. Double triple-doubles
On Saturday, Vince Carter racked up big, fat triple-double with 46 points, 16 rebounds and ten assists. But he wasn’t the only Net to scoop up a triple dip. Mr. Triple-Double, Jason Kidd, amassed the 86 triple-double of his career and his 11th of the season as he went off for 10 points, 16 rebounds and 18 assists. The Nets superstars became the first teammates to accomplish the lofty feat since another well known duo pulled it off in 1989. That was when Michael Jordan (41 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists) and Scottie Pippen (15 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists) blasted the Clippers for a pair of TD’s. Now Kidd and Carter just need to win six championships and they’ll really be like Mike and Pip.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Tracy McGrady @ Sacramento 40 min, 40 pts (FG: 14-28, 3FG: 3-6, FT: 9-12), 8 reb, 10 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk

Monday’s Game to Watch: Utah (48-28) @ Golden State (37-40) The Warriors are coming off a tough loss to the Spurs on Saturday but they have still won four of their last five games as they continue to keep their playoff hopes alive. But if Golden State wants to close the one game gap between them and the Clippers, Baron Davis is going to have to lead his team past a playoff quality team in the Jazz. Utah has already wrapped up their division crown but they are still in a must win situation because they are currently in a battle with Houston for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Even though the Jazz have locked up the fourth seed in the West, the Rockets can steal the right to hold the majority of the series in Clutch City if they finish the season with a better record.

Buzzer Beater: Normally a rally from 17 points down to grab a five point victory would be considered a pretty sweet comeback. But Philly fans have got to be cringing as they watched their Sixers fight all the way back to beat the Hawks by five, 109-104, in overtime. The win gets them one step closer to nowhere and one step away from the possibility of grabbing Kevin Durant or Greg Oden in the draft this summer. Thanks to a late hot streak in which the 76ers have won 13 of 20, Philadelphia now joins four other teams in a tie for the fifth fewest wins in the league. Can you say Joakim Noah?

NBA General

Around the Rim: Bryant’s big weekend

Yea, I play a little.

1. The Mamba strikes again, no suspension necessary
With the madness running wild on CBS there is a good chance that you were too preoccupied with brackets on Friday night to think about the NBA. Well, unfortunately, you missed another incredible offensive performance by Kobe Bryant. The man with the uncontrollable elbows put up the second best scoring feat of his career by torching Portland for 65 points on a 23-for-39 shooting performance in a 116-111 overtime victory. Bryant was clutch when the game was in question but refused to let his team fall to the Blazers as he scored 24 points in the fourth quarter and threw in an additional nine points during OT. This was only the third game of Bryant’s career in which he scored at least 60 points; it might sound crazy to use the word “only” in that last statement but that’s a sign of how spectacular Kobe is. The Mamba has been on the verge of 60 numerous times as he has cracked the 50 point plateau 13 other times, including a 50 point performance in a 109-102 victory over Minnesota last night.

2. Luck of the Irish

The last time the Celtics had beaten the Spurs was on Jan. 8, 1997. Then the curse began. It was in the following draft when San Antonio changed the destiny of the NBA and landed the number one pick in the draft instead of Boston who had the statistical advantage to grab the top selection, a.k.a. Tim Duncan. Fast forward ten years and the Celtics finally got a measure of revenge as they defeated Duncan and his Spurs by six points, 91-85, for Boston’s first victory over San Antonio in 19 tries. And it’s no coincidence that the Celtics picked up the historic victory of St. Patrick’s Day; Boston also broke a 17-year drought against the Spurs in San Antonio. If losing his first ever game against the men in green wasn’t bad enough for Duncan, the Spurs became only the third team in NBA history to have a winning percentage of .700 or better and drop consecutive games to teams with win percentages of .360 or worse at least 60 games into the season. It’s a big win for the C’s but they’d still rather have the three trophies.

3. The Sixers are great hosts
Hopefully you weren’t fooled by the 76ers seven game winning streak a while back because the real Philadelphia team has returned and they are an ugly assembly. Since having their run of victories ended the 76ers have lost three of their last four games, including an eye-popping 50 point loss, 124-74, to the Rockets last night in Philly. It was the biggest home loss in club history and ranked as the third most lopsided home loss in NBA history. Only the 1986 Houston Rockets (lost to Seattle by 56) and the 2003 Boston Celtics (lost to Detroit by 52) have suffered bigger losses in their own gyms. On the other hand, the Rockets set a new franchise record for road domination and fell just two points shy of tying the team’s biggest win ever. So don’t give up hope just yet Sixer fans; you still might strike lottery gold after all.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Kobe Bryant vs. Minnesota 45 min, 50 pts (FG: 17-35, 3FG: 4-9, FT: 12-14), 6 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl

Monday’s Game to Watch: Boston (20-46) @ New Orleans (29-37) Yea, it’s a crummy game but it’s the best that the NBA has to offer on a light evening that only consists of two games. But let’s be positive about this because it could be worse, it could have been the same teams from a month ago. Now that’s scary. But Boston is finally picking up some victories after going on a franchise-record 18 game losing streak earlier in the year. Paul Pierce is breaking the hearts of millions of Bostonians as his outputs are slowly removing the Celtics from having a possible future with Greg Oden or Kevin Durant as the franchise’s cornerstone. And while New Orleans is sitting behind all three of the Texas teams in the Southwest Division, they are only two games behind Golden State for the final playoff spot in the West despite losing seven of their last eight games. But don’t blame CP3 for the teams struggles because Chris Paul can’t be expected to do too much more than put up his recent five game average of 16.8 points, 9.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds.

Buzzer Beater: Those weren’t Boooo-zer chants you were hearing on Saturday night. No, those were actual boos as turncoat Carlos Boozer returned to Cleveland for the first time since he bolted for Utah almost three years ago. And LeBron James showed his old teammate that the Cavs don’t miss his glass cleaning abilities as he grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds to go along with 24 points, nine assists, two steals and two blocks. But Boozer had an impressive game of his own (19 points and 14 rebounds) despite being unimpressed with the crowd’s imagination. “It wasn’t even that bad,” Boozer said of his Cleveland homecoming. “They had a lot of signs. I saw a couple of them. Chants were OK. They could have been more creative with their chants. It was good though.” What, you don’t think “Boozer is a Loozer” is purely ingenious?

NBA General

Around the Rim: The Beautiful People And The Unsightly

1. Hollywood’s House of Horrors
To borrow a phrase from Tom Jackson; Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and all of the other Lakers got JACKED UP!! Dallas showed no mercy on Los Angeles as they defeated them by 36 points, 108-72, as Jack Nicholson, Tobey Maguire, Penny Marshall and Dyan Cannon all watched on. Kobe and crew had their worst offensive output of the season in the worst home loss in franchise history. The nastiest pounding the Lakers organization had ever received in Lalaland before last night was a 35 point spanking, 144-109, by the San Francisco Warriors on November 19, 1966.

But the Lakers shouldn’t let the loss get them too distraught since they can still claim a victory over the Mavs this season. That’s more than most teams can say. And they can also lay claim to the longest span of regular season home games without being defeated by 30 points or more. Sunday’s loss marked the end of that 1,521 game period that dated back to November 1969.

2. Late Bloomers
Everyone knows that the NBA’s hottest team is Dallas with 17 consecutive victories. And most know that San Antonio is also riding a double-digit win streak that has reached 12 straight. But a lot of people aren’t aware that two of the teams nipping on the heels of the league’s longest active win streak were on the verge of being in the Greg Oden/Kevin Durant sweepstakes just a few weeks ago. The Allen Iversonless 76ers are just four games away from grabbing the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after ripping off seven straight wins that included victories over the Suns, Lakers and Pacers. Right behind Philly is Miami who has won six in a row as an invigorated Shaquille O’Neal has carried the Heat since they lost Dwyane Wade to a dislocated shoulder in late February. Thanks to a 106-104 victory over the Wizards on Sunday Miami is only one game behind Washington for the Southeast Division lead which would guarantee them one of the top four spots in the East.

3. Run For The Border
It’s not too often that a coach gets pissed off when an opposing player misses a 3-pointer, but that’s exactly what happened at the end of yesterday’s game between Indiana and Cleveland. With the game firmly in the Cavs hands, 99-84, and the final buzzer buzzing, Sideshow Bob’s biggest fan, Anderson Varejao, launched a 26-foot trey that failed to fall but succeeded in drawing the evil eye from Pacer coach Rick Carlisle. But what sour puss Carlisle didn’t consider was that the last second heave was meant to bring happiness to thousands; not mount more humiliation on a few. See, the three would have put Cleveland over 100 points which would have given everyone in attendance a free chalupa from Taco Bell. Now, don’t you feel silly coach?

Sunday’s Player of the Day: T.J. Ford vs. Seattle 37 min, 25 pts (FG: 11-15, FT: 3-4), 4 reb, 13 ast, 3 stl

Monday’s Game to Watch: Houston (39-24) @ Phoenix (48-14) The All-Star power is off the charts in this contest as five of the league’s elite will make the start between the two clubs. The Suns come into this game with the second best record in the league and, like usual, are riding a nice winning streak; four in a row and nine of their last ten. But Houston is on a three game win streak of their own as Yao Ming is bouncing back into shape way ahead of schedule. Yesterday against the Magic, Yao looked like the dominant player he was before breaking his leg in November as he went off for 37 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in a 103-92 victory. Tracy McGrady didn’t disappoint as he put up 19 points and 10 assists in the game. Nevertheless, no team wants to make the trip to Phoenix for the backside of a back-to-back.

Buzzer Beater: After a weepy Ron Artest apologized to the world on Saturday for his latest random act of stupidity, he came out and played decent ball in his first game since being reinstated. But don’t let the sniffles and tears fool you, it’s only a matter of time before Artest’s name is back in the headlines for some dumb off court decision. Eric Musselman is just hoping to get through the remainder of the regular season and any playoff run that Sacramento might see before Ron-Ron loses his marbles again. It’s like Terrell Owens in Big D; you know he’s gonna screw the franchise eventually, so all you can hope to do is milk him for 150 yards and a pair of TD’s per game until he does.