LeBron James, Akron native and lead-ringer on Carmelo Anthony’s Team Baltimore, was met by a sold-out chorus of boos when he took to The Palestra floor last night in Philadelphia for what was dubbed “The Battle of I-95”. He went on to lead all scorers with 43 points despite the lack of love he received from the crowd, but it wasn’t enough to help his “Team Baltimore” to the victory.
In a game conceived and organized by Phoenix Sun and Philly native Hakim Warrick, who actually tried to get players who were from or in someway tied to Philadelphia on his roster, it was his squad that got the better of Syracuse teammate Anthony’s star-studded crew from “B-More”. Despite the fact that it was an exhibition, Team Philly got the win by digging in on the defensive end of the floor, and manufactured enough stops to come out on top.
Philadelphia native and former Villanova star Kyle Lowry continued his impressive showing this summer with a 34-point effort of his own to lead Team Philly. Lowry, who is coming off a two week run at the Impact Basketball in Las Vegas where he was widely considered one of the top-5 performers throughout that Series, showed no signs of slowing down on Sunday. Even up against a line-up including Chris Paul – who isn’t from Baltimore either – alongside Anthony and James, Lowry continued to shine on his way to hanging another big number on the board.
Sacramento Kings Guard Tyreke Evans, who hails from Chester, PA, kicked in an 18 point, 18 rebound outing of his own last night in an assist to the Rockets PG, and game organizer Hakim Warrick finished with 19 and 12. Lou Williams, who isn’t from Philadelphia but at least plays for the Sixers, went 10 of 17 from the floor scoring 31 to help the hometown team get the win.
In addition ot the 43 points LeBron scored, he did also grab 15 rebounds while Carmelo went for 31 and 17. According to Washington Post, though, Chris Paul “wasn’t in top shape in rare action during this NBA summer of inactivity,” despite playing the full 48 minutes alongside James and Anthony. So that might be something CP3 wants to take a look at over the next couple weeks.
The recap from The USA Today on the game, if you’re interested, went something like this:
Team Philly jumped out to an early lead, as Team Melo trailed by more than 20 points in the first quarter.
“We moved the ball well, we passed the ball well, we made shots, we got back on defense,” Lowry said.
Defense, which hadn’t been a focus in the previous, was key for Philly. Yet there still were moments characteristic of similar exhibitions — such as back-to-back-to-back alley-oop dunks from both sides, and some dubious foul accounting that kept the stars out on the floor.
As the fourth quarter pressed on, Team Melo took its first lead. But with five minutes remaining, the home team pulled away.
I know these games aren’t “real”, and I also understand that these “Basketball Never Stops” shirts everybody wears at these games are part of a Nike promotion that these players are probably getting paid to participate in, but nevertheless I still think these games are cool.
I imagine the Philly guys took some pride in getting that W last night, and I also imagine they plan to let Melo and friends hear about it for a while too. If I were from Philly and packed into the Palestra last night, I’d probably let anybody I knew from Baltimore hear about the fact my city got the win too if I could. I’m not from there though, and really don’t know anybody from Baltimore, so I guess I’ll just have to wait until Mel Levett, Steve Logan, and Sam Clancy put a Team Cleveland together and go from there.
Photo: Washington Post