Sixers Notes: Iverson pumps up Sixers crowd before Game 6

Posted: May 24, 2012

Hours before Wednesday's game, fans and players alike were caught up in whether the "little guy" was in the house.

"Is AI here?" Elton Brand asked a reporter two hours before the game.

Fans were standing from the time they entered the Wells Fargo Center to try for a glimpse of Allen Iverson after word leaked that the former Sixers superstar would be in attendance.

And the place exploded when Iverson came out of the tunnel close to the Sixers bench and, wearing a Lou Williams jersey and a Sixers warm-up jacket, handed the game ball to referee Joey Crawford.

During the game, Iverson was interviewed on ESPN and said he still wanted to play pro basketball whether it was in the NBA or elsewhere.

"I just want to play basketball," Iverson said.

Iverson played 12 seasons with the Sixers. He played in 11 All-Star Games and helped the Sixers reach the 2001 NBA Finals against the Lakers.  

No honor for Iguodala

The NBA all-defensive teams were announced Wednesday, and 76ers forward Andre Iguodala, often lauded as one of the league's best defenders by coach Doug Collins, did not get enough votes to earn first- or even second-team honors.

Iguodala's absence didn't make sense to Collins.

"I think he's one of the premier defenders in this league," said Collins. "LeBron [James] is a guy who can guard multiple positions, as can [Iguodala]. But to me there's no question that Dre should have been no worse than a second-team defender. But I know what he does for us, and I know that our team knows what he does for us. But it's nice to be recognized."

Tough game

It was announced by the NBA Wednesday that Miami Heat reserve center Michael Pittman had been suspended without pay for three games and that teammate Udonis Haslem was suspended for one game for rough play in a Game 5 win over Indiana on Tuesday.

"There's nothing wrong with hard, physical play," Boston coach Doc Rivers said before Game 6. "I think it should be allowed more, but nothing where it has a chance to injure a player. That's not good."

"I didn't get a chance to see it," said Collins. "But normally what happens when you see the same people over and over in an extended period of time and the stakes get higher, it's been the history of NBA basketball.

"I don't think it's anything new. I think what's happened is the players make so much money today. You have to be really careful that you don't hurt somebody and take away their career."

Collins was involved in one of the most memorable punches in Sixers history when, in Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1977 finals, Darryl Dawkins and Maurice Lucas squared off on the court after a hard foul. Dawkins threw the first punch, except he hit Collins near his right eye, and Collins needed a few stitches.

But Collins stayed in the game, and the Sixers won to go up two games to none in the series. They wound up losing the next four. Collins was rewarded, though, for his efforts in that Game 2.

"[Dawkins] did give me $100 and these stitches right here," Collins said.

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