A.I. Reaches Career High and NBA Season High; Helps Team Win Game by Scoring 60
Orlando Magic Head Coach Johnny Davis decided to use multiple defenders against Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson. As a result, he had the game of his life in front of a capacity crowd at the Wachovia Center.
In front of 20,389 screaming fans, “A.I” as he is so-called, scored a career-high and an NBA season high of 60 points in a 112-99 win over the Magic. His performance, according to FoxSports.com, edged out Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O’Neal, who scored 55 points Jan. 4 versus the Milwaukee Bucks
Iverson, who was 17 for 36 shooting from the field, 2-5 from the three-point arc and 24-27 from the foul line, beat his previous career-high of 58, which he had against the Houston Rockets on January 15, 2002, according to an article from FoxSports.com.
“I score a career-high and we won the game,” said Iverson. “That’s how you draw it up in your dreams.”
The nine-year veteran out of Georgetown became the first player to score 60 in an NBA regular season game since Tracy McGrady turned in a 62-point outburst versus the Washington Wizards on March 10, 2004.
“It was one of those nights from a superstar performer," said Davis, according to FoxSports.com. "We had different defenders on him all night. He just had a dominant game.”
He also, according to www.philly.com, joined the likes of guard Michael Jordan, forwards Karl Malone, Tom Chambers and Bernard King centers David Robinson and Shaquille O’Neal as NBA players to score 60-plus points in an NBA game since the 1979-80 season. Michael Jordan did it the most, scoring 60 on four occasions, including his career-high of 69 on Mar. 28, 1990 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
His 60 point effort was the fourth highest in 76ers franchise history, trailing behind only Wilt Chamberlain, according to an article from FoxSports.com.
Iverson, who scored 29 points in the first half, was as good as gold right from the opening tip-off. He had 17 points in the first quarter, 12 points in the second, 11 points in the third and 20 points in the fourth.
It evened stunned Sixers head coach Jim O”Brien. “I’ve never witnessed a performance like this," O’Brien said, according to FoxSports.com. "This is the greatest performance I’ve ever witnessed.”
What we saw from “A.I.” in his performance for the ages was his ability to get his teammates involved as well as make contributions in other areas.
In addition to his 60 points, the five-time All-Star had 6 assists, five steals and a block shot. He also got contributions out of his supporting cast.
Sixers starting forward Corliss Williamson had 18 points and 12 rebounds and the other starting forward Kyle Kover scored 12 points and pulled down six rebounds center/forward Marc Jackson scored 11 points and pulled down 10 boards off the bench.
Besides praising his solid performance, Iverson gave praise for how he has been able to be on the same page with the likes of Korver who, according to an article on www.philly.com, nicknames Sniper. He especially praised them in his postgame news conference after defeating Orlando.
“What I have been able to do is, honestly, a tribute to the guys on my team,” Iverson said. “When you’ve got Sniper on the court and other guys on the basketball court, they (the opposition) are scared to leave those guys.”
What is even more amazing about Iverson’s performance on Saturday night is that he scored 60, after scoring 30 the night before in a 106-91 win at the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. In both games, he played 42 minutes, according to nba.com.
Davis, Iverson’s first coach with the Sixers in 1996-97, his rookie year, told www.philly.com that he feels a lot of what Allen Iverson has been able to do in his career is an attribute to his football background. In high school, Allen Iverson, according to an article from www.philly.com, played quarterback and defensive back, where he got hit a lot and dished out a lot of hits as well.
As O’Brien said in the same article that it is a scary site seeing “A.I.” attack the basket and hit the floor that many times as he saw on Saturday night. “If it wasn’t for Allen’s unspeakable amount of toughness, that I’ve personally never witnessed before, he would have a shortened career, having gotten nailed that many times.”
With a record of 25-26, the Sixers still have a chance of winning the Atlantic Division. Even if they do not win the Division, they still have a chance of making one of the eight Eastern Conference playoff spots. Currently they are in the eight and final playoff spot in the East.
Iverson talked though after the game that he wants to not just make the playoffs, but win an NBA championship, even though a number of other teams, like the defending NBA champions the Detroit Pistons, share that same vision.