Saturday, March 04, 2006

Breaking: Allen Iverson to save season

It’s true. Being snubbed by the USA Basketball might have been the best thing to happen to 76ers since draft day in 1996. In the two games since being inexcusably dissed by the team he stepped up and led in the summers of ’03 and ’04, Allen Iverson has scored 87 points and dished out 22 assists. It’s the first time someone has had back-to-back, 40-point/10-assist games since 1991. In the closing seconds of the game, Iverson implored the crowd to make some noise (pictured at right) and you could just tell that he feels good about shit — not just about last night's game but about how the team is playing and their ability to do something more than simply make the playoffs.

The Sixers are now 5-1 since the All Star break and only a game and a half behind the division-leading New Jersey Nets (losers of three straight). Chris Webber thinks the team can win the division. His friends think he’s crazy. We don’t think they can win the division. We think they should win the division.

This team has the talent to be a solid three seed in the Eastern Conference. And now they’re finally looking and playing like a team.

(Crazy Speculation Alert: 700Level thinks mediocrity is in the Sixers' future. We (optimistically) think otherwise. With 24 games remaining in the regular season, there’s still plenty of time for them to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. We’re conservatively thinking 17 more wins. It’s not hard to envision how, after winning a first-round playoff series, a clicking Iverson- and Webber-led Sixers team rolls into the Eastern Conference Championship. And then, who knows...)

The Sixers’ next game is tomorrow at 1 p.m. It's at home against Indiana and on national television (ABC). You'll probably want to tune in. Hell, you should probably go. Allen loves him a national audience — and you know there's a little extra motivation there after such a public slight — look for him to continue the brilliance of the past two games. He’ll probably flirt with 50.

And now, for good measure, here’s an especially nasty clip from the fourth quarter of last night’s game, in which Allen Iverson made 17 out of 28 shots from the floor. Here, he breaks Antonio Daniel’s ankles. Twice. Enjoy.

Related: Allen Iverson to USA B-ball: No big deal
Related: Chris Webber: I'm not crazy
Related: Antonio Daniels has had better days
Related: Kyle Korver: That game was crazy, ugly, exciting

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