allen iverson

allen iverson

Allen Iverson vs. Vince Carter: Marquee NBA matchup 2001 Playoff

40m ago
SOURCE  

Description

Vince Carter versus Allen Iverson is the kind of marquee matchup the NBA has been craving since the days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. As two of the NBA's most exciting young stars, they are dazzling spectators and TV viewers with limitless creativity and breathtaking moves in the Toronto Raptors-Philadelphia 76ers playoff series. "This matchup is great, and people are getting turned on to it," said NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik, who was at Philadelphia's First Union Center on Wednesday night, when Iverson scored 54 points to Carter's 28 in the 76ers' 97-92 victory. "For better or worse, fans like it when you get superstars going against each other. People have been hearing about these guys for years now, but they haven't gotten this far before where they met each other at this level. That gets people interested." "This is special because they both have their teams on their backs," 76ers president and part-owner Pat Croce said. "They're great basketball players, but more than that, they're exciting. They add an element of surprise when they get the ball. You don't know what's going to happen. They bring that anticipation and enthusiasm and they smile at the fans and interact with them. That's what the NBA needs. That's what we want. I want the people going nuts when Carter does something. I just want him doing it less than Allen." That certainly was the case in Wednesday night's game as Iverson set a 76ers single-game playoff scoring record. Many of Carter's baskets were more spectacular, but Iverson was relentless in going to the basket. "I didn't want to settle for anything," Iverson said. "I went and took what I wanted." Even Carter acknowledged Iverson after the game. "He did the job, that's for sure, but the series is not over," Carter said. With the NBA's overall popularity declining and new rules designed to make the game more appealing set to take effect next season, an Iverson-Carter matchup is what the league really needed. "Watching these two kids, I don't think our league is in any trouble," 76ers coach Larry Brown said. "They really are exciting." "I think you are going to see more great individual matchups as the young kids we have in this league develop," he said. "We are always rushing to fix this and fix that, but maybe there is not always something wrong. The young guys have to be able to grow and make some mistakes. Let them grow up and then see what they can do. In this series, you are seeing two of the best going at each other." It is looking increasingly likely that Michael Jordan will end a three-year retirement next season and return to the NBA as a player. Carter and Iverson will be right there, eagerly awaiting that matchup. "You always want to test yourself against the best, and I would welcome the challenge," Iverson said. Said Carter of Jordan: "He set the standard we are all trying to reach." Jordan, of course, owns six championship rings and 10 scoring titles, while Carter, 24, has won nothing more than a rookie of the year award and a slam-dunk title. But Carter is one of the league's most popular players among fans, the leading vote-getter for the past two NBA All-Star Games. Iverson, 25, won his second scoring title this season and is favored to win this season's most valuable player award, as well. "We try to promote the game and the teams and all the players," Granik said. "There are just certain players who capture people's imaginations. You can't deny that. "We can't go out and create them. It just happens and they're doing it on the court. You can't make superstars, I don't care how good a promotion. It's what they do on the court, and here we have Iverson and Carter. They're doing it most nights on the floor. That's what people see and they love to watch it." Iverson tough, Carter soft? Carter and Iverson have had their share of critics since each was designated "the next Michael Jordan" — something that occurred shortly after they entered the league. One ...