Young Guns: Melo, LeBron, and Iguodala Capture Wednesday Night

Sean StancillSenior Writer IDecember 11, 2008

Wednesday night showcased just what talent, athleticism, and a pocketful of first round draft picks can do. It also showed what a decade worth of natural deterioration presents.

Between the Cavs-Sixers, Suns-Lakers, and the Nuggets-Wolves, all of those factors were on display and at maximum strength.

Here is precisely what I’m referring to:

Iguodola & LeBron

Andre Iguodola, the ninth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft waltzed into the Wachovia Center well below his points per game and steals per game average but those couldn’t even be contrasted to his dismal field goal, and three-point percentage compared to a year ago. However, Iggy changed that.

He not only played comparable defense on LeBron, but he also “rickshaw-ed” the 76ers to a competitive contest.

Iguodola slithered in-and-out of the lane, and did a brilliant job working off the ball to create better opportunities for himself and the Sixers.

As a result, A.I. had 12 points alone in the first quarter on 6-7 shooting including a layup, and a dunk that you can credit to his profound route-running. Iggy finished with 21 points at the half, and 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists for the game.

LeBron James bullied the flock of defenders assigned to him (Miller, Brand, and Green) and wheeled around traps to find open looks for teammates. The Cavs’ best player scored 10 points on 4-5 shooting in the first, and James continued to trudge into Philly defenders forcing over a fourth (6-20) of Philadelphia’s team fouls. After affecting the game on offense, ‘Bron turned his sights to defense.

James had two blocks—both on point guard Lou Williams— to help Cleveland to its 10th straight victory.

LBJ finished with 29 points, five assists, and two blocks in 39 minutes of action.

It was LeBron’s third game of the season with at least 20 points, seven assists, and two blocks.

Combined, the duo went for 56 points, 10 assists, and 13 rebounds for an unconventional triple-double.

Carmelo Anthony

Topping LeBron's scoring output in a single quarter deserves special recognition; relevant or not. Fortunately, it was 24-year-old, molten superstar Carmelo Anthony. Though A.I.'s and James' contributions were lovely, they almost bowed to Melo's.

However, Anthony almost singe-handedly abolished that mark (45-11-4), and tied George Gervin for the most points in a quarter with 33, while beating the Timberwolves.

Melo’s 45 points (in only 39 minutes) was the highest since he poured in 49 on the Washington Wizards in a win, also at the Pepsi Center.

Aside from the offensive explosion, he added 11 rebounds, four steals, four three-pointers, and nine free throws.

The Veterans: Elton Brand, Kobe Bryant, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Steve Nash

Combined the four veterans went 19-51, and only attempted seven free throws—Brand 4-12, Zydrunas 3-11, Bryant 6-16, and Nash 2-12.

Though Kobe and Ilgauskas proved to be the victors of the bunch, both missed open shots, and launched the ball indifferently to the game tempo.

Last night marked the first time all three players (Melo, Lebron, and Andre) registered at 20 points and four rebounds on the same night, and the first time LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Iggy each scored 20 points while Kobe, Elton, Nash, and Zydrunas on the same evening.