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Iguodala Vs. Anthony: An Unstoppable Force Vs. An Immovable Object - 3/20/2012

“Anytime you're a great offensive player and you're playing against a great
defensive player there's going to be a rivalry because there's going to be contact and
there's going to be fighting for position on every single play.” –Doug Collins


Andre Iguodala relishes this matchup; this rivalry. With forward Carmelo Anthony playing his ball just a few hours up I-95 for the Knicks as opposed to the other side of the continent for the Denver Nuggets, the two can now enjoy each other’s company on a regular basis. After meeting at Anthony’s place, Madison Square Garden, twice this season, it’s now Iguodala’s turn to play host.

As the Knick star knows all too well, his Philadelphia counterpart is not a very gracious host.

In four meetings over the last two seasons, Iguodala has held Anthony to just 40.6 percent shooting and has forced the 6’ 8” forward to take nearly 70 percent of his shot attempts from midrange and beyond, about 12 percent above his average. When he does go inside, Anthony has been painfully inefficient. Since 2010, he’s converted just seven of the 21 shots he’s taken in the paint with Iguodala the floor. Against other opponents during that time, he’s converted over 50 percent.

Sixers head coach Doug Collins knows how fortunate his team is to have a player like Iguodala in a league full of potent outside scoring threats.

“If you want to look through all the games, he gives us a chance every night,” said Collins about his All-Star wing. Whether it's Boston or New York or any of these other teams who have that 'three' that can score, he takes that challenge on and he makes his man work hard every single night to get his points.

“I think Andre is the best perimeter defensive player in the NBA.”

If Iguodala is the NBA’s best outside defender, Anthony may be the league’s best outside scorer. Now in his ninth NBA season, the Nugget-turned-Knick has not once posted a season average lower than 20 points. That puts him in elite company. Only 11 other players in league history have accomplished this feat over as many seasons. Of those 11, seven are Hall of Famers. The other four? Oh, just Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Mitch Richmond, and LeBron James.

As much as Andre Iguodala takes pride in shutting his opponent down, Carmelo Anthony delights in demoralizing the opposition by knocking down contested shot after contested shot and taking over games in crunch time.

When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, the collision will be ugly, but one will come out the victor. Wednesday night, we’ll find out which it'll be.