Thursday, January 12

Sellin' Those Wieners!

Only the Sixers could show up and make Milt Palacio look like Lewis Scott (no offense to the Knicks, who could do anything they put their minds to). Leading much of the way, Allen and Co. let the Jazz sneak off with a 110-102 victory, their first home loss to a Western Conference opponent. Another ridiculous effort by Iverson was squandered, as he put up 46 on 16 of 25 shooting while tossing 9 dimes to boot.

At this point the Sixers' defense has become so porous they'd have trouble stopping Lurch, especially if coach Shooter McGavin let him bring his "death row shit." The Mo Cheeks gang is scoring with the best of them, putting up 102.2 per, but come in ahead of only Seattle in points allowed with 105.2. At least the cheap seats go a long way, as they are drawing 4th worst in a league where 21,000 fans a night come out to see Kirk Hinrich dance around with the Baby Bulls.

So in the midst of 17-18 (but second place in the East) season, why am I having so much fun? Easy: Allen Iverson. In a word, he is perfect. Here in his 10th season, he is above his career stats in points, assists, shooting percentage, minutes, turnovers, and free throws (made and attempted). The man is a machine. He is the Bill Clinton of basketball players. Smart, savvy, loved, hated, an avid scorer, and will never be fully appreciated until he is gone and replaced. (This deserves its own column)

Super-respected (and deserving) columnist John Hollinger used Allen as an example of his 'Fluke Rule,' arguing that with "a performance drop relative to his own standards...he'll still be among the best guards in basketball." Well, not only has Allen failed to fall from his 2004-05 perch, he has accelerated his play by 18.3% (ESPN insiders can check this all out here). In a world where 83% of statistics are made up on the spot, Hollinger is a real beacon, up there with the gang at 82games.

Just before the new year, David Aldridge questioned whether Philly fans might be suffering from "Iverson Fatigue." Although I often find myself at odds with sportswriters, I couldn't help but feel that Aldridge hit the nail square on the head here. Iverson was Iverson, so why were the seats empty? Has his game gotten stale? Is a 6 foot nothing all-guts player putting up 33 and 7 no longer worth coming out to see?

One of the things that always caught my attention about Allen was how quietly he put together a 35-point night. A couple jumpers here, a dash to the lane, 13-15 from the line, and poof! 37 points. Forever labeled as a volume scorer, this year Allen is finally making the most of his bullets. He has added and perfected a pull-up jumper from inside 15 and has figured out how to draw a foul while pulling back from a defender. And to top it off, he is finally surrounded by players he trusts, rather than being urged to share the ball with guys who have gone on to illustrious pine-riding and radio announcing careers (If Todd MacCulloch dies young, could he please donate his hands to Sammy?).

So sure, the tickets are expensive, unless you dig the 15th row directly behind the basket (which I happen to enjoy thoroughly). Sure, the refs are being instructed to call every hand-check and slow the game down to the speed of molasses going uphill. Sure, Mo doesn't have the team playing defense and I still haven't figured out the offense- my best guess is that they try to kill 10 seconds, then do one of the following:

1. High pick and roll (mostly pick, a little roll) with Chris and Allen
2. Two man screen for Kyle
3. Give Sammy the ball low and hope for the best
4. Give Iverson the ball and get out of the way
5. Run three picks and a weave to get Salmons the ball, then sit around and wish he was Iverson
6. Alley-oop to Iguodala
7. Awkward shot (could be anyone!) 110% put-back slam by Shavlik

The point is, the Eagles are through until the draft (April 29th, but who's counting), the Flyers are fun but kind of hard to take seriously until they shore up the power-play and start the playoffs, so the Sixers are what we've got, and I'm sticking with them. Allen's game is riduculous, Webber is exceeding even the most optimistic expectations (we even run last-second plays for him!), Korver is Korver, and Sammy is leading the league in blocks and goaltending. The NBA... it's fannnntastic!


greene said...

i love when you tailor posts entirely for me... celtic pride references all over the place. beautiful. and dont knock the knicks, theyre currently, in a word, dominant. theres never been anyone like isiah, simultaneously the best drafter and worst gm in league history.

drtwoplj is not a word by any means.

Armando said...

AI for mayor
AI for president
AI for emperor

Cameron said...

The Iverson-as-Clinton-of-the-NBA is going on my list of all time favorite celebrity analogies.

x-intern said...

That was a lot of