Fans at the Barclays Center got what they wanted Sunday, as Allen Iverson made his return to the floor at the first day of BIG3 play. However, it was clear Iverson was not the A.I. of old.
Iverson scored just two points on 1-of-6 shooting while playing minimally in 3's Company's season-opening win over the Ball Hogs. Andre Owens finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds and five assists for the Iverson-captained team, which pulled away late on an 8-0 run.
DerMarr Johnson (14 points) and Al Thornton (13 points) were also in double figures for 3's Company. Ball Hogs captains Brian Scalabrine and Josh Childress were equally uninvolved, finishing with a combined six points. Their scoring was almost entirely comprised of the 22 points put up by Rasual Butler and 19 by Derrick Byars.
Still, those in attendance couldn't help but marvel at the novelty of seeing Iverson on the floor again:
Rohan Nadkarni @RohanNadkarni
Allen Iverson's first BIG3 bucket https://t.co/DdWIqA02Uz2017-6-25 20:42:14
Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpearsESPN
Crowd chants loudly, "We Want A.I." Iverson answers by re-entering2017-6-25 20:37:52
Rob Marvin @rjmarvin1
Allen Iverson guarding WHITE MAMBA Brian Scalabrine. #BIG3 is so great. https://t.co/k0khLgFqI42017-6-25 20:30:07
While Iverson's team naturally played in the third game of the afternoon, the first two provided relatively solid play and close finishes. Rashard Lewis' free throw gave his 3 Headed Monsters a 62-60 win over Ricky Davis and the Ghost Ballers and gave fans their first glimpse of the interesting rule format.
The 3-on-3 games are played in a first-to-60, win-by-two format. Lewis needed to hit his free throw on an and-1 layup to put things away for the Monsters. The team captain finished with 27 points, while former No. 1 overall pick Kwame Brown had 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Davis finished with a team-high 23 points for Ghost Ballers.
3 Headed Monsters spent most of the game playing without point guard Jason Williams, who went down with a knee injury. Monsters head coach Gary Payton said he expects Williams to be fine and play within the next two weeks, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.
Injuries were understandably a major story of Sunday's action, with three of the four games featuring at least one minor scare.
Power's Corey Maggette left the team's 62-58 win over Tri State with a knee injury of his own, per Spears. Power put the game away on a three by DeShawn Stevenson, who scored a game-high 20 points. Four of Power's five players were in double figures, and they won despite allowing Tri State to shoot 56.3 percent from the floor.
Jermaine O'Neal scored a team-high 18 points for Tri State.
Kenyon Martin's Trilogy scored the day's biggest win, earning a 60-45 trouncing of Killer 3's. Unfortunately for Martin, his time on the floor was limited in part due to a hamstring injury.
Al Harrington spearheaded Trilogy's effort with 25 points, while James White (16 points) and Rashad McCants (15 points) were also in double figures. Reggie Evans (18 points) and Stephen Jackson (17 points) led the way for Killer 3's.