The Top 5 Games of Allen Iverson’s Career
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The Philadelphia 76ers made Allen Iverson the first overall pick of the 1996 NBA Draft. Other than the Class of ’84, which featured the likes of Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton, the 1996 draft class was arguably the best in NBA history. The 1996 group included Marcus Camby, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Jermaine O’Neal.
Without a doubt, Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant are the two best players who emerged from that batch of rookies – it tells you these two ballers were in a different stratosphere.
For his part, Iverson averaged 26.7 points during his 14-year NBA career. He’d score on an assortment of shots – layups, fadeaways, dunks, teardrops, jumpers, and threes. You name it, Iverson did it.
A.I. went on to become an 11-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA scoring champion. He was also the NBA’s MVP in 2001. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrined Iverson – a bona fide legend – in 2016.
Let’s check out the greatest games of Allen Iverson’s career:
Game #1: February 12th, 2005 Sixers vs. Magic: A.I. Torches Orlando for a Career-High 60 Points
At that point in the NBA season, the Philadelphia 76ers had experienced a so-so campaign (they won 25 of their first 51 games). Nonetheless, Iverson decided to kick things up a notch on this winter evening at the Wachovia Center in Philly.
Iverson scored a career-high 60 points against the hapless Orlando Magic – they simply had no answer for The Answer. A.I. converted 17 of 36 shots from the field. He also had six assists and five steals to boot.
Iverson scored 29 points in the first half. He didn’t rely too much on the three-pointer to score a career-high (he made just two of five attempts). Rather, it was a combination of shot creativity and tenacity (he made 24 of 27 free-throw attempts) which helped him pull it off.
Game #2: April 12th, 1997 Sixers vs. Cavs: Iverson Goes Off for 50 Against Cavs in Rookie Season
The number 50 had historical implications for Allen Iverson on this night at Cleveland’s Gund Arena – the impressive rookie scored 50 points during the NBA’s 50th year.
Iverson had a reputation as a tremendous scorer during his college days with the Georgetown Hoyas. He had little trouble making the transitions to the pros. In fact, he ran circles around his Cavs defenders on this night. Guys like Terrell Brandon and Bob Sura tried to contain him, to no avail.
Instead, Iverson had his way with whatever defender Cavs head coach Mike Fratello threw at him. The Answer made 17 of 32 shots from the field. He also had five rebounds and six assists. Unfortunately, Philly lost to Cleveland, 124-118. Nevertheless, it capped off a tremendous April for Iverson, who averaged an amazing 33.6 points per game.
Game #3: June 6th, 2001: The Answer Scores 48 Points Against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals
Allen Iverson was determined to help his Philadelphia 76ers win their fourth NBA title. It had been 18 years since their last NBA Finals appearance. The start of the new century could usher in a glorious new era for Iverson and Co.
Standing in their way: Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Iverson felt at home in the confines of the Lakers’ Staples Center. He scored 30 of his game-high 48 points in the first half. Thanks to Tyronn Lue’s stifling defense, Iverson scored just three points in the fourth quarter. However, A.I. regained his swagger in overtime, scoring seven consecutive points during one crucial stretch (including a step-back jumper over Lue) in overtime. Philly won its only game of the series, 107 to 101. Los Angeles won its second straight title in five games.
Game #4: May 17th, 2001: Iverson’s 52 Points Puts Sixers on Brink of Playoff Series Win Over Vinsanity’s Toronto Raptors
If there was one Eastern Conference playoff series worth watching in 2001, this was the one. Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors. Allen Iverson vs. Vince Carter. The Answer vs. Vinsanity.
It was a shootout at the O.K. Corral between Iverson and Carter. The latter scored 50 points in Toronto’s 102-78 blowout win Game 3. Now, it was Iverson’s turn.
The Answer did Vinsanity one better in Game 5 at Wachovia Center – he scored 52 points on 21-of-32 shooting from the field. He put on a long distance show, nailing eight of 14 attempts to keep the Raptors at bay. Iverson complemented his hot shooting with seven assists and four steals. Philly prevailed in runaway fashion, 121-88. The Sixers would go on to win in seven games and face the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Game #5: April 21st, 2003: A.I. Scores Career Playoff-High Vs. New Orleans Hornets
Allen Iverson had been making it a habit to score in bunches during the postseason. On this night, he would score a career playoff-high 55 points against the visiting New Orleans Hornets.
Iverson would score his final points when they mattered the most: in crunch time. With the Sixers leading by just two points in the fourth quarter, he buried a triple off a screen by Keith Van Horn to make it 89-84.
Several minutes later, Iverson left the Hornets’ George Lynch – his former teammate with the Sixers – eating his dust for a layup. Iverson’s clutch basket gave Philly a six-point lead. The Sixers won the opener, 98-90.
At the time, only Iverson, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Charles Barkley, and Rick Barry scored at least 55 points in a playoff game.
Allen Iverson was the epitome of fearlessness on a basketball court. Despite standing just six feet tall, he stood head and shoulders above everybody else. No wonder he’s in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and considered a NBA legend.
If there’s a game you think we should add to our list, get in touch at [email protected].
The BuySideSports Team