Last Friday, at All-Star Weekend media day, we sat in for a couple minutes while Allen Iverson talked about his disappointing half-season with the Pistons. Long story short, A.I. wasn’t diplomatic about letting everyone know that he hasn’t been playing “my game,” as reporters around him — after so many years of calling him a jacker and a ball-hog — were now asking why he wasn’t shooting the ball more. Last night Iverson played his game, looking like the dude we all watched grow up at Georgetown and in Philly. He was launching everything in the fourth quarter of Pistons/Spurs, as Detroit’s offensive movement came to a complete stop every time Iverson (31 pts, 13-28 FG, 7 asts) got the ball. Aside from the occasional Rasheed Wallace pick, Deeeee-troit basketball consisted of A.I. trying to bust Bruce Bowen or Tony Parker‘s ankles while Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Antonio McDyess and ‘Sheed stood around and watched … Two things, though: Iverson had to do it, and it was working. You can’t knock A.I. too much for dominating the ball down the stretch, because no one else on his team was helping him out. ‘Sheed went 4-for-17, and Prince, Rip and Rodney Stuckey combined to go 6-for-23. And because A.I. was getting buckets, the Pistons made a fourth-quarter comeback and almost won the game. He hit a step-back over Bowen to bring Detroit within one, then blew past Parker for a go-ahead scoop shot at the 1:15 mark. But Parker (19 pts, 11 asts) put San Antonio back up on a pair of free throws after Wallace clobbered him in the lane, and the Pistons never scored again … Down by one with about 10 seconds left — after Iverson had been Detroit’s only offense all night and scored almost 40 percent of the team’s points — why did Michael Curry have ‘Sheed take the big shot? And after Bowen came down with the rebound and got fouled, Gregg Popovich went nuts because he thought Bowen called a timeout before the foul. Why was that a big deal? Because Pop didn’t want Bowen taking those potentially game-clinching free throws. If you’re Bowen, though, aren’t you just a little insulted that your coach was THAT adamant about it? Bowen had to be flipping a mental middle finger when he drained both freebies … Tim Duncan‘s line: 18 points, 18 boards, three blocks … Bad news for the Spurs, though, as they learned Manu Ginobili will be out 2-3 weeks with a right ankle injury (not the one that kept him out earlier this year) … On the same day we posed the “Who’s Better?” argument between Paul Millsap and David Lee, it was a big night for underrated, drafted-too-late, workhorse power forwards everywhere. Jason Maxiell had a ridiculous dunk where it looked like Matt Bonner catapulted him to the rim, and in the only other game on Thursday’s schedule, Celtics/Jazz, Leon Powe and Millsap had their highlights. Powe had a nasty tip dunk in the second half, and Millsap banked in a HUGE jumper off the glass, plus-one, that gave Utah the lead with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter. (Kevin Harlan’s call on the play: “HA! HAAA-HAAAA!”) … The Celtics were up going into the fourth, but couldn’t get anything going as Paul Pierce (20 pts, 7-19 FG) bricked jumper after jumper and Kevin Garnett was unavailable after hurting his knee in the first half. And of course, knowing Doc Rivers, no KG means too much Brian Scalabrine. Looking and playing about as awful as Michael Rapaport in the All-Star Celebrity Game, Scalabrine fouled out in 11 minutes and continually blew his assignment by leaving Mehmet Okur open to knock down shots … Matt Harpring gave the Jazz the lead with 1:01 left on a wide-open J from the foul line off a Deron Williams dime, and after Ray Allen missed a layup and Harpring ripped the rebound from his hands, Deron (18 pts, 10 asts) crossed up Ray right-to-left and dropped the dagger in his eye with 20 seconds left … No word yet on Garnett’s condition, but a returning Charles Barkley made his most astute observation of the night when he said, “If anything happens to him, they’re cooked.” … In case you somehow didn’t hear, Thursday was trade deadline day in the NBA. The biggest deal was a late submission: Rafer Alston going to Orlando (after Jameer Nelson opted for season-ending shoulder surgery) in a three-team deal that sent Kyle Lowry and Brian Cook to Houston, and the Magic’s first-round pick to Memphis. Other notable deals included Larry Hughes and Chris Wilcox going to the Knicks for assorted crap, and Shelden Williams (to Minnesota) and Rashad McCants (to Sacramento) trading places. So apparently we’re gonna let this “Shelden Williams as an NBA player” thing go on a little longer before he inevitably ends up like Omar Epps at the end of Love & Basketball, playing Stedman to Candace Parker‘s Oprah … We’re out like The Landlord …
Smack / Feb 20, 2009 / 6:01 am
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