Greatest NBA Finals Performances: Allen Iverson Scores 48 in Game 1, 2001
In Game 1 of the 2001 NBA finals, a historic performance by Allen Iverson capped off with the most iconic play of Iverson's career. Everyone remembers the crossover, the step-back, and the legendary step-over. 76ers were up by 2 with 48 seconds left in overtime, so the shot alone had everyone's jaws on the floor, but the step-over is what cemented the moment into history. AI stomped over Lue, fists clenched, in a full stare down, right in front of the Lakers’ bench. Just take a look at the looks on the faces of the Lakers’ bench as this happens.
That bucket put the 76ers up 4 with 45 seconds left in overtime and gave Iverson his 47th and 48th points of the night. When this game was played (June 6th), the Lakers were undefeated in the playoffs and hadn’t lost a single game since April 1st, but the entire city of Los Angeles knew they were in trouble when Iverson rolled up to the Staples Center in a #3 Philadelphia Eagles jersey. Let me tell you the story of the night Allen Iverson, The Answer, singlehandedly dismantled one of the greatest NBA dynasties of all time.
Iverson started 1-5 from the field, but still scored 12 in the first quarter without a single three or free throw. Kobe and Shaq combined for only 9 points at this point, but the Lakers were still winning 22-23 thanks to Rick Fox who had 10 in the first quarter. Iverson added 2 steals and another 18 points in the second. This gave him 30 for the half and the 76ers a 56-50 lead. At halftime, Iverson (30) still had more points than Shaq and Kobe combined (22). Iverson had scored 8 more points in the third, including this ridiculous layup, just over the outstretched hands of Shaq.
Keep in mind that Shaq stands 7'1" and weighs 325 pounds, while Iverson barely stands at 6 ft and weighs 165 pounds. In that third frame, you can see Shaq looking up in total disbelief.
2nd Half and Overtime
At the end of the 3rd, the 76ers were up 79-77. The fourth quarter was very low scoring for both teams; the 76ers put up 15 and the Lakers scored 17 to tie the game at 94. Iverson only scored 3 of the 76ers 15, but would make up for it in overtime.
Iverson led the game in overtime scoring with 7 points, which all came in the last 2 minutes of overtime. The 76ers were down 3 (96-99) with 1:45 left on the clock. Iverson got an outlet pass and sprinted down the court, giving Ty Lue no choice but to foul. He knocked down two free throws, 98-99 Lakers. In the very next possession, Iverson hit a transition three, 101-99 76ers with 1:19 left. The Lakers turned the ball over trying to feed Shaq in the post and then it happened. Iverson got the ball on the wing and the legendary crossover would follow, 103-99 76ers with 48 seconds left. In one minute, Iverson scored 7 consecutive points and took his team from down 3 to up four. Kobe would come back down and hit a nice mid-range jump shot and free throws would follow. 76ers go on to win 107-101.
2001 NBA Finals Game 1 Highlights
Allen Iverson Interview With Rachel Nichols
Iverson stepping over Ty Lue became an iconic moment in NBA history, but Iverson doesn’t like talking about it. In a 2016 interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (watch below), Iverson explains how he and Ty Lue are friends, he sees how people make jokes and doesn’t want to add to the fire. He tells her, “I didn’t even know I did it, I was just in the moment...”