You knew it when you saw number two. June 6, 2001 Staples Center, the city of stars Los Angeles, California. Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The raucous STAPLES Center crowd began chanting “SWEEP, SWEEP,” even before Game 1 began, and the Lakers looked the part by scoring 16 straight points early on jumping out to an 18-5 lead. However, clearly relishing his first appearance in the NBA Finals, Iverson was incredible for the first 2 1/2 quarters, scoring 38 points as the 76ers took a 73-58 lead.
Then the Lakers inserted rarely-used Tyronn Lue who was a surprise player on the Laker playoff roster. Lue even imitated Iverson in practice for a week leading up to Game 1 in order for LA to practice defending the Answer. Guarded by the speedy Lue most of the rest of the way, Iverson scored only three points until his flurry in overtime. Iverson broke free and hit a pull up transition 3 pointer and then with 48.2 seconds remaining, a highlight for NBA Finals history was made.
Starring Lue down baseline in front of a standing Lakers bench Iverson broke down Lue off the dribble, pulled back, hit a 20 footer, and EMBARASSINGLY walked right over top a fallen Lue. A moment that no Philadelphia sports fan will ever forget. The bucket sealed a thrilling Game 1 overtime victory over the previously un-beatable LA Lakers. The most unforgettable moment from the unforgettable 2001 Finals season.
The number 1 moment in Allen Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers career…..
Our number 2 moment in the Answer’s top 10 moments in a 76er uniform comes once again from the memorable 2000-2001 season’s run to the NBA Finals. Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semi’s, series tied 2-2. In the pre-game ceremony Allen Iverson was given his Most Valuable Player award for his 42 minutes a night (league leader), 31.1 points per game (league leader), 2.5 steals per game (league leader), and 4.6 assists per game season, while leading the 76ers to the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
After accepting the MVP trophy, the Answer delivered on cue. The NBA’s Most Valuable Player scored 52 points, including 29 in the first half, and poured in eight 3-pointers, a team playoff-record. The 76ers beat the Toronto Raptors 121-88 to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Answer was the second player to score 50 or more points twice in a series; Michael Jordan is the only other player to do so, against Cleveland in 1988.
The number 2 moment, Allen Iverson, the 2001 NBA Most Valuable Player.
February 12, 2005, it was the Answer’s day. Allen Iverson dropped his career high 60 points against the Orlando Magic. It was in the middle of the Sixers last season going to the playoffs under Iverson, and the Sixers won 112-99 behind Iverson’s 60 points on 17-36 shooting and 24-27 from the free throw line. The win brought the Sixers record to a mere 24-25 on the season.
The number 3 moment in our top 10 moments of Allen Iverson’s in a Sixer uniform, scoring a career high 60 points.
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In the final weeks of the Answer’s rookie season, the Sixers were just playing through the schedule as another lottery bound off-season was approaching.
Michael Jordan and the defending (soon to be re-peat) champion Bulls came to the “CoreStates Center” in the first week of April. Allen Iverson gave us one more to add to his Rookie of the Year highlight reel as he was isolated at the top of the key with the game’s greatest, Michael Jordan. The fans stood and called for his patented crossover, and in true A.I. fashion he delivered, breakin Jordan’s ankles and bringing the “CoreStates Center” down one final time in his inaugural season.
Number 4 in our Allen Iverson top 10 moments in a 76ers uniform, AI versus MJ.
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The number 5 moment in our countdown to honor the return of Allen Iverson back to the (215) Wednesday night comes from the 1999 lockout shortened season. It was the beginning of something special forming under the Allen Iverson-Larry Brown era, as Iverson led the league in scoring and the Sixers to the playoffs for the first time post-Barkley.
The Sixers won game 1 then lost a tough one in game 2 when the offense just didn’t show up as the Sixers scored 68 points while shooting 38% from the field. That set the stage for game 3, the first Sixer home playoff game since the 1991 East semi-finals and the Answer as always, delivered. He came out and dropped 33 points and had a playoff record 10 steals in the victory, setting the stage for game 4 and a possibly clinch the series. Game 4 proved to be just that as the Sixers came out and wrapped up the series in 4 games and advanced behind Iverson’s 37 point and 9 assists.
Number 5 moment; May 15, 1999. The first of many Sixers post-season series clinchers in the Iverson era. Game 4, 1999 Eastern Conference 1st Round.
The number 6 moment for Allen Iverson in a Sixers uniform is an amazing record-setting run during Iverson’s rookie year. With the 96-97 season winding down, the Answer wrapped up the ’97 rookie of the year award by dropping 40 points in 4 straight games against the Bulls, Hawks, Bucks, and Cavs, setting the NBA rookie record.
After dropping 50 against the Cavs to set the record, Iverson said it was just as simple as ” I score points. We don’t have a lot of scorers on this team and that’s what I do best.”
Number 6, a NBA record.
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The number 7 moment comes comes from the 2001 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. In game 6 Allen Iverson dropped 46 points and was simply on FIRE. He scoring 26 of those in the 4th quarter as he single handedly almost brought the Sixers back from a 33 point 4th quarter deficit.
Yes, this moment does come in a losing effort, but Iverson put a very big scare in the Bucks and he set the tone for Game 7. Which we all know Iverson and the Sixers had the last laugh in winning the Eastern Conference Title.
At number 7 an incredible scoring spree in the 4th quarter of Game 6 2001 East Finals.
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The number 8 moment in our countdown of the ten best Allen Iverson moments in Philadelphia comes from the magical 2000-2001 season. The 2001 All-Star game in Iverson’s home city, Washington DC, Iverson came out and stole the show. With his oft embattled coach Larry Brown, the Eastern Conference coach, Iverson helped lead a 21 point fourth quarter comeback for the East squad. Iverson finished with 25 points, 5 assists, 5 steals and took home the game’s Most Valuble Player award.
During the MVP award ceremony, the true magic of that ’01 seasons run to the finals was on display, Iverson tried to show his bitter feud was over, as he tried to pass all the credit to his coach. The famous moment “Where my coach? Where my coach at? Coach Brown? This is a tribute to my coach…”
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As we look forward to the return of legendary 76er Allen Iverson to the (215) one week from tonight, we begin a tribute to the Answer and will take a look back at some of Allen Iverson’s greatest moments in a Sixer uniform. We will be counting down his top 10 highlights on daily basis with the top three coming on game-day, Wednesday, March 19th at the Wachovia Center.
Without further ado, lets begin the countdown…
No. 10 – Easy like Sunday Morning
On a Sunday afternoon game in Toronto’s Maple Leaf Garden, with the shot clock running down, Sixer guard Eric Snow drives into the lane and draws two defenders, (as we all know in the (215) why would anyone leave their man to help on Eric Snow) . Snow stops, pulls up and attempts a bank runner that is naturally off the mark and a highlight for the ages is in the making.
While the ball hangs in the air, 6-11 Raptor center, Marcus Camby appears to have great box out position on a Sixers big man (is that Scottie Williams), when the 6 foot Iverson SKIES over the trees and emphatically one hand slams the put back over the Camby Man. Promptly followed by native Canuck John Saunders “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That’s a point guard folks. You know once a game this guy will do something that will make you fall out of your seat!”