Post Up: Welcome Home, AI

by December 04, 2009

by Holly MacKenzie/@stackmack

Allen is home. Allen is home. Allen is home.

I could copy and paste that 8000 times in this post because that’s about all my mind is thinking right now. I’m so happy. Thrilled. Over the moon. We can’t script reality because sometimes it’s too perfect. Envisioning an Iverson back to Philly “second chance” seemed foolish only a few months ago. Hell, even a few weeks ago.

But there he is. Smiling. Holding up what is perhaps the loveliest jersey I’ve ever seen. I loved the Sixers new uniforms this season. With a #3 and an IVERSON on the back, I loved them even more. This feels right. Even if it feels a little overwhelming and strange and almost scary. Scary because, if it doesn’t work in Philly, we know it isn’t going to work anywhere else. Strange because Iverson will go from being “retired” to starting (at least, I hope for his sake). Overwhelming because we will get to hear those Sixers fans scream their hearts out for Iverson once again.

I want this to work out for him more than anything I can recall in recent memory. It just feels right. Deserved He gave that franchise his heart for so many years. After  putting them on his back, they had a chance to give him a hand, a shot and a second chance. And they did.

The tears in his eyes, crackle in his always raspy voice, nervous smile as he tried to get a hold of his emotions, that is why Allen Iverson means what he does to me. He is real, raw, pure emotion. He is true to what he feels inside. It’s the only way he knows how to be. It’s the only way I ever want to be.

To the Philadelphia 76ers franchise, thank you.

Thank you for taking a chance on someone that you believe in. I believe in him, too.

Okay. I’ve got so much more to say/think/express about Iverson, but I can’t get my thoughts straight right now. Going from trying to accept that he was gone to having him back in Philadelphia has been a whirlwind. I’m sure you can relate.

Beyond that, DeJuan Blair had me singing #rookielove all evening. 18 points on 9-11 field goals, 11 rebounds (five offensive) in 21 minutes of play off of the bench. He was spectacular. He was everywhere. Hopping all over the place, making moves against KG, going up against Perkins battling for boards. He was aggressive, focused and absolutely jacked up at the end of the game as he led the Spurs back. San Antonio ended up losing the game to the Celtics, 90-83, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort on Blair’s part.

The Spurs were out of sync all night. Sloppy from the jump. They lost despite outrebounding Boston 55-32, including 20-2 on the offensive glass. How does that happen? By shooting just 7-for-17 from the free throw line and by turning the ball over 19 times.

Rajon Rondo is a hell of a point guard. Can people stop hating on him? Or, let me clarify that: Can people stop hating on his game? You don’t have to like him, but saying he sucks only makes you look ignorant. He’s a baller. Also, KG getting up to grab lob passes made me happy last night.

The Denver/Miami game was almost over before it started with the Nuggets leading by 16 at the half and rolling to the 114-96 win from there. Facing the Lakers tonight, things don’t get any easier for this Heat team on this West Coast swing. Did you all see the new hairstyle JR Smith is rocking? I personally enjoyed his six assists off of the bench to go with 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting. Dwyane Wade had 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Heat in the loss.

The Houston/Golden State game ended up being a close one down the stretch. After trailing by 10 in the fourth, the Rockets continued to play their team game and came roaring back while Monta Ellis and the Warriors had some heartbreaking turnovers late as Houston escaped with the 111-109 victory. With the game going back and forth, Aaron Brooks nailed two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining and then Ellis was called for a travel on the in bounds catch and the Warriors didn’t get a chance to win it.

How’s this for a wacky line? Monta Ellis scored 24 points to go with six rebounds, eight assists, nine turnovers. He shot just 9-for-27 from the floor and had seven blocks against him. He played 47:28 minutes after missing the morning shootaround because he felt under the weather. Brooks led the way for Houston with 25 points, none bigger than his final two free throws.