Team Philly romps in "Battle for I-95" NBA exhibition

76ers guard Lou Williams tries to block Miami Heat superstar LeBron James at the Palestra.
76ers guard Lou Williams tries to block Miami Heat superstar LeBron James at the Palestra.
Posted: September 26, 2011

One is a Philly native, while the other is merely a transplant. For the native, the venue is old-hat by now. Key games of his high school and college careers played out on the storied hardwood. For the transplant, Sunday night served as a debut.

North Philly's Kyle Lowry and Sixers guard Lou Williams combined to form a versatile backcourt for Team Philly as they knocked off Team Melo, 131-122, in the "Battle for I-95" at the Palestra.

Typically, defense fails to get invited to these types of parties. But on Sunday, Williams showed glimpses of his defensive prowess.

In the fourth, 6-foot-8 LeBron James caught a pass near the low post only to find Williams tightly guarding his back. With a nearly seven-inch advantage, James signaled for the isolation and began backing down Williams toward the block. As James launched for the layup, Williams leaped even higher and rejected the offering.

"I just wanted to play a little bit," said Williams, who finished with 31 points. "I know how these games can get, nobody wants to play defense. So we just wanted to up the tempo a little bit and actually try to get some work in."

A constant threat on the offensive end, Lowry finished with a team-high 34 points, including 13 in the third quarter. As Team Melo slowly crept back in the third quarter, Lowry hit a backbreaking three-pointer with 1.5 seconds on the clock, and Lowry received a pass and hit a step-back three that gave Philly a four-point lead entering the fourth.

"The atmosphere was awesome. Everything went well," said Lowry. "It was a great game and fun to get out there."

After much speculation, there was no surprise appearance by Allen Iverson. Ditto for Andre Iguodala.

The lone surprises were former Temple standouts Dionte Christmas and Mark Tyndale, who suited up for Team Philly. Both said they received text messages from game organizer Hakim Warrick asking if they'd want to take part.

"It brought back a lot of memories," said Christmas. "Coming in here, playing at the Palestra. I haven't seen anything like that in a couple years."

The lone Sixers representative in the game was Williams, who received Team Philly's loudest ovation when the starting lineups were announced. Warrick said Williams was included on the roster because he is an adopted son of the city due to his longtime status with the Sixers and his community work.


Contact staff writer Matt Breen at mbreen@phillynews.com or @matt_breen on Twitter.

 

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