Monday, January 07, 2008

AI drops 38; Downie protects self, a nation mourns....

Former 76er, Allen Iverson, scored 38 points while shooting 14 of 25. He claims it's no big deal that he was able to be so offensively dominant, but I call bullshit on that one. He even had 8 assists to make it seem like he wasn't totally hogging the ball all night. You could always tell when AI felt his game was slighted, because he would go out of his way to kick up his assist numbers on a short term basis before backsliding into hogging the ball and taking it to the hoop while getting the crap kicked out of him.

Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed the Allen Iverson era in Philly, but I think people have short memories about the Iverson era. All that is talked about is how much heart and determination he showed during games and he had both of those things when he played here; not a single Iverson critic can take that away. But the guy has no concept of being part of a team......people forget things like his complete inability to show up to practice on time (or in some cases, at all), the years where he didn't take care of himself, the late night partying, the "posse showdowns" back in the Jerry Stackhouse days, all of the trouble the Sixers went through to get a #2 scoring option only for Iverson to never give that person the ball. Or how about the perpetual shit storm he kicked up during the Larry Brown era? Parking in the handicapped spot at Friday's? I could go on and on. For good measure, here is the famous "talkin' bout practice" clip in case your forgot about his commitment to the franchise:

Andre Miller had an uncharacteristic evening shooting 9 of 21 (too many shots) and a 3-2 assist to turnover ratio (not good). Marcus Camby blocked 7 shots to key the Nuggets defensive effort.

Flyers win; Downie in trouble again?

The Flyers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 3 -2 on the strength of a late power play goal by Mike Richards and a stellar effort in goal from Antero Niitymaki, who made 54 saves. You'd think that would be the focus of the conversation, but all anyone north of the border could talk about was a punch thrown by Steve Downie at Leafs winger Jason Blake during a scrum. Now, understand that it was Blake who attached himself to Downie during this scrum and both guys were being actively seperated by linesmen. Unfortunately, it appeared as if the linesman holding Downie was not doing a great job and Downie got off a punch to Blake's eye, giving him a nice little mouse under his eye.

Now, do I think that Steve Downie is possibly the unholy spawn of mating Theo Fleury and Darcy Tucker? Yeah, probably. He's already shown himself to be more than willing to antagonize and has top shelf offensive skills to go with his more aggressive traits. But does this little punch deserve the hue and cry of the entire nation of Canada (check here, here, and here for some of the most outrageous whining I have ever read about an athlete not named Barry Bonds)? Absolutely not! Remember, it was Blake who grabbed Downie and it was the linesman who failed to restrain Downie. What was Downie supposed to do? Would it have been better if Downie waited until Blake got free of the linesman that was trying to tie him so Blake could get off a punch? Screw that. I don't blame Downie one bit for this one and if Colin Campbell suspends him, this is a case of unfairly targeting Downie because of his reputation.

And if Campbell is in the mood to suspend someone, how about Leaf Pavel Kubina for his hit from behind on Braydon Cobourn? Or an elbow to the head that Scott Hartnell took in the 3rd period? Anytime a US-based team plays in Canada, it seems the officiating is dicey in favor of the home team, but on Saturday, it reached outrageous proportions (6 Leaf PPs to none for the Flyers until mid-way through the 3rd period).

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