Uploaded on Feb 16, 2012
Allen Iverson was practically going like 60.
Iverson scored a career-high 58 points -- the most in the NBA this season -- as he rallied the Philadelphia 76ers to a 112-106 overtime victory over the Houston Rockets.
In his fifth career 50-point game, Iverson scored 14 in the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter, including two free throws with 23 seconds left that forced overtime.
In the extra session, Iverson made a jumper, a gutsy 3-pointer and the clinching free throws as he eclipsed his previous career high of 54, set January 6, 2001 at Cleveland.
"I have won scoring titles, I've scored 50 points before and I have won individual awards," Iverson said. "I haven't won a championship and that is the only thing that I am concerned with."
Iverson made 21-of-42 shots and 14-of-14 free throws as he fell two points shy of becoming the 17th player in NBA history -- and the shortest -- to score 60 points in a game.
"You know something? He has the ultimate green light," Rockets guard Cuttino Mobley said. "It's hard to stop somebody when he's got the ultimate green light and when (he) gets hot. He's one of the best players in the league. Plus, he's fast as all hell."
The NBA's scoring leader more than doubled his average of 28.2 points and established a league season high, one night after Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant scored 56 points in just three quarters vs. Memphis.
"We knew when Kobe got 56, he'd have a big game," 76ers coach Larry Brown said. "He was incredible. He played 50 minutes. He defended and he just played a phenomenal game."
The outburst was the most by any Sixer other than the legendary Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain scored a team-record 68 points at Chicago on December 16, 1967.
The Sixers are 3-2 when Iverson scores at least 50 points. That does not include two playoff wins over Toronto last year.
"He is just tremendous," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "We were running guys at him. Iverson just shot it before we could get anyone across the floor. He was winging them from all over the place. It was a great performance."
Rookie Speedy Claxton scored 16 points for Philadelphia, which has won five of its last seven games.
"(Claxton) was aggressive every time he received the ball in a double-team, shot it, and didn't even think about it," Brown said. "His defense is just incredible."
"The important thing is trying to stay consistent," Iverson added. "That's what makes a team good. With bad teams, you knock them off and good teams you try to knock them off. If you don't, you give the effort and then that carries on to the next game."
Cuttino Mobley scored 25 points and Kenny Thomas added 20 for the Rockets, who wasted a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and have alternated wins and losses in their last 11 games. Houston fell to 2-3 in overtime.
"We have had a lot of games like this," Tomjanovich said. "Maybe this is right where we are."
A scoop layup by Iverson moved the Sixers within 88-85 with 6:58 to go. Consecutive 3-pointers by Philadelphia natives Eddie Griffin and Mobley rebuilt the lead to nine points, but Iverson made two free throws and a three-point play before a jumper by Eric Snow made it 94-92 with 2:59 left.
Thomas made two free throws, but Iverson hit the 500th 3-pointer of his career and took a steal in for a layup, giving the Sixers a 97-96 lead with 2:05 remaining.
Griffin turned a low-post jumper into a three-point play for a 99-97 edge with seconds to play. Iverson tied it with two from the line 25 seconds later and the Rockets did not get off a last shot.
"Nothing ever materialized," Tomjanovich said. "You have to give Snow a lot of credit. (Moochie Norris) was going to take it on his own and try to shake the guy and create something."
Iverson's jumper came after two foul shots each by Snow and Matt Harpring and gave Philadelphia a 105-99 lead with 3:43 to play. A jumper by Francis got Houston within 105-104, but Iverson hit a deep pull-up 3-pointer on the next possession.
"It's just frustrating," Griffin said. "He's so small, but he's fast. He can get a shot off because of his quickness."
A steal by Snow led to a tip-in by Dikembe Mutombo and Iverson sealed it with two from the line with 23 seconds to go.
Snow and Harpring each scored nine points and Mutombo had eight and 13 rebounds for the Sixers, who shot 48 percent (43-of-90), made 24-of-26 free throws and committed just 10 turnovers.
Griffin had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Steve Francis added 13, 10 and seven assists for the Rockets, who shot 48 percent (41-of-86). Houston made 10-of-20 3-pointers but committed 16 turnovers.
Iverson missed his first four shots but still scored 14 points in the first quarter as Philadelphia grabbed a 24-19 lead. The Rockets used a 12-0 run featuring eight points from Griffin to build a 51-46 halftime edge.
Despite 17 third-quarter points by Iverson, Philadelphia trailed 83-75 entering the fourth period.
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