Editor's note: This series of articles originally ran in 2014, when the Sixers retired Allen Iverson's number.
February 12, 2005
A basketball coach can find fault in any player's performance. For instance, when talking about Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game, former Sixers coach Doug Collins quipped, “He took 63 shots!”
Fair enough. But Wilt also had 25 rebounds and a pair of assists that night in Hershey, Pa.
Certainly it’s easy to understand Collins’ underlying point. If one guy is taking all the shots, the other players might not feel like they are part of the team. Last month Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points against Charlotte to set a Knicks record, but he took 35 shots and had goose eggs under the columns for assists, steals and blocks.
What else did he do besides shoot the ball (and grab defensive rebounds)?
But when Allen Iverson scored 60 points to set a career mark on Feb. 12, 2005 against the Magic at the Wells Fargo Center, there wasn’t much he didn’t do.
Iverson went 17 for 36 in the 112-99 victory over the Magic, but went 24 for 27 from the foul line, led the team with six assists, five steals and a block. And for as much as Iverson had his hands on the ball that night, he committed just three turnovers.
That 60-point game for Iverson was a perfect storm of sorts. When the season began, coach Jim O’Brien moved Iverson from the two-guard spot and let him handle the point. As a result, Iverson led the league in scoring (30.7), steals (180), free-throw attempts (656) and shots (1,818). He scored 30 or more points in 35 games, 40-plus in nine games and had back-to-back 50-point performances as a precursor to the explosion against the Magic.
It wasn’t as if Iverson was going up against a bad Orlando team, either. The Magic had Dwight Howard, Steve Francis, Grant Hill, Doug Christie, Jameer Nelson and Tony Battie. Yes, Howard and Nelson were rookies at the time, but Orlando was a team on the rise.
There is some historical context, too. Over the last 20 years, only six players have scored 60 or more in a game. It’s also the most points scored in a game by a Sixer not named Wilt Chamberlain and the fourth-best output in a game in franchise history.
“When you’re talking to me, and you’re mentioning Wilt Chamberlain in the same sentence with me, I don’t have (any) words after that,” Iverson said after the game. “I mean, what can I say? You mention somebody that’s 6-feet, 165 (pounds) soaking wet, and somebody seven some feet.”