Kobe wins duel with Iverson; Lakers beat Sixers

No one is surprised the Sixers lost, and no one is surprised Kobe dominated, but one thing no one saw coming was a 2001 Allen Iverson sighting. Seriously, I thought I was 12 years old all over again. 

During the third quarter of tonight's game Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant treated us to a good old fashioned duel. Iverson scored 15 points on 7 shots and Kobe scored 14 on 7 shots. Sadly, this loss was the second most exciting moment for Sixers fans all season, right behind Jrue Holiday's coming out party in Washington. 

Kobe eventually took it upon himself to guard Iverson, and from that point on the Sixers had no chance. Outside of Iverson and Elton Brand, the Sixers had nothing tonight.

We've had the discussion over the past few weeks on what a "number one" is, and whether or not Andre Iguodala fits the bill. Well tonight Iverson was a great example of a true number one. Not because he scored 23, but because he sensed his team falling behind and took it upon himself to take the game over -- and he did. A number one is a guy who you can give the ball to on a crucial possession and trust that he's going to give your team a great chance to score. A number one is a guy who can match the other team's number one bucket for bucket. A number one is a guy who energizes the home crowd and silences the away crowd. A number one is a guy who can flat out take over a basketball game. 

Brand has also shown the characteristics of a number one during the past few weeks. Shockingly, the guy who's supposed to be the cornerstone of the franchise, hasn't.

Here's the breakdown of the "Big Five":

Jrue Holiday

Jrue played a very impressive 17 minutes tonight. He handled Kobe better than any of his teammates, and went at him aggressively on the offensive end. He showed off his point guard skillz by making nice passes and penetrating easily. 

Grade: B+

Lou Williams

Only 8 minutes for Lou tonight, and he didn't really do much. How much can you really do in 8 minutes? He had a nice defensive stand or two on Farmar, but cancelled them out by allowing easy penetration a few possessions later.

Grade: Incomplete

Andre Iguodala

Andre was completely non-existent tonight. Kobe owned him the few times they matched up. You can't fault Iguodala too much, because he played solid defense, but no defense is good enough for Kobe Bryant. However; Andre was also abused by Ron Artest. I have no excuse for that. 

On offense Iguodala forced a couple shots, scored only 8 points, and was credited with 5 turnovers. You could make a strong case that he should've had 7 turnovers since he held the ball way too long twice, forcing his one of his teammates into a three second violation each time.

He looked lost most of the night, but did have 7 rebounds and 4 assists -- great game. 

Grade: D-

Thaddeus Young

He was 4-11 from the floor, highlighted by a terrible airball. He was also torched on defense, couldn't box out, and managed to record a -15 in the totally irrelevant +/- category. 

Grade: D

Marreese Speights

4 minutes, 1 shot, 1 rebound, 0 points, team was -10 when he was on the floor.

Grade: Incomplete

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It was the Allen Iverson show tonight folks, and I enjoyed every minute of it. One loss closer to John Wall.

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