“This was my favorite game so far,” said an excited Iverson after the win.
December 1999 – This game took place a few weeks before the Y2K bug was supposed to shut down the world so lucky for the 76ers they got to celebrate like Prince when they came back from a 17 point deficit to beat the dunking cousins and Raptors in this exciting game.
Iverson, in only his second game back from a broken thumb, scored 37 points, grabbed 7 boards, dished 7 assists and 1 fake-out on a cameraman (2:13 mark).
Here’s how it went down according to PennyCCWai who is the President of the Iverson fan club and keeper of all AI footage.
Playing his second game after missing 10 with a broken thumb, Iverson scored 37 points as the 76ers used a big third quarter and held off the Toronto Raptors, 93-91.
Iverson, who scored 11 points in 21 minutes before sitting down for good midway through the third quarter in Saturday’s 106-84 loss to Charlotte, made two free throws to give Philadelphia the lead for good at 83-81 with 3:56 to go. He scored 10 points in the third period, when the 76ers outscored the Raptors, 27-14.
“We needed to start playing basketball, the kind of basketball we were playing when Matt (Geiger) and I were out,” said Iverson. “The first game I come back we get blown out and we were down 14 at the half. After a while you need to look in the mirror and that’s what I did. That’s why I changed my game in the second half to help everybody around me instead of doing it on my own.”
The 6-foot Iverson, the 1997 Rookie of the Year and last season’s scoring champion, shot just 13-of-34 from the field. But he also had seven rebounds and seven assists as Philadelphia defeated Toronto for the fourth time in five games.
“I thought the first half was a repeat of the Charlotte game,” said Philadelphia coach Larry Brown. “We had no clue defensively, our shot selection was horrible and they got every loose ball. At halftime I talked to them and reminded them about what this team is all about. We had to stress defense first, not take the first quick shot, work the clock and grind it out.”
Vince Carter, last season’s Rookie of the Year, scored 19 points to lead the Raptors. Carter had a chance to give Toronto its fifth win in seven games but his jumper from the left corner hit the front of the rim as time expired.
“They came out hungry in the second half,” Carter said. “They wanted to win the game and we had no energy. We need to win games. This was a big game for us and we didn’t get it. We have to sit back down and evaluate where we are now and where we want to be.”
Tracy McGrady, rumored to be offered to Philadelphia for guard Larry Hughes, scored 18 points and Antonio Davis grabbed 18 rebounds for Toronto.
“We lost the intensity we had in the first half and it cost us,” McGrady said. “We dug a hole in the third quarter and couldn’t get out. They took it to us and we couldn’t stop them and they killed us on the glass. They outran us and there was nothing we could do about it.”
The Raptors were within 90-89 on a layup by Davis with 7.9 seconds left, but Iverson made two free throws after taking the inbounds pass. Davis dunked with two seconds left to make it 92-91 and Eric Snow hit one free throw with nine tenths of a second to play, leaving the Raptors with a chance for the final shot.
Hughes scored 11 of his 12 points after halftime and Philadelphia held a 27-20 advantage in rebounds in the final two quarters after being dominated on the boards in the first half.
Geiger had four of his nine points in Philadelphia’s 12-3 burst that cut the deficit to 58-53 when Iverson made one free throw with 7:21to go in the third quarter.
The Sixers ended the period with a 13-6 surge and got within 69-61 when Hughes made a layup with 4.1 seconds remaining. Iverson had seven points in the spurt.
Kevin Willis, who scored 17 points, opened the fourth quarter with two free throws and a layup to give Toronto a 73-68 lead with 10:39remaining. The Sixers tied the game as Aaron McKie made two free throws with 9:58 left and Hughes completed a three-point play 52 seconds later.
Toronto’s last lead came at 81-80 when Carter hit a 21-footer with4:04 to go. After a 20-footer by Iverson, Carter made a running jumper to pull the Raptors within 85-83 with 2:40 remaining. Toronto had a chance to tie the game, but Davis made only one free throw 21 seconds later.
Geiger’s jumper from the left corner made it 87-84 with 2:05 left. Charles Oakley made two free throws with 1:45 to play but George Lynch answered with a jumper 11 seconds later, giving the Sixers an 89-86 edge.