Archive for January 2012
In just their second home loss of the season, the Philadelphia 76ers fall to the New Jersey Nets 97-90 in overtime. While the Nets are one of the worst teams in the conference, the 76ers are still 12-6, good enough for the best record in the Atlantic Division by four games. The attendance in tonight’s game was actually 13,000, up from the 10,000 figure from Monday but still nowhere near the 20,444 capacity.
Why is no one going to these games? So far in this lockout shortened season, the Sixers are 8-2 in home games but only have an average attendance of 14,147, which ranks 27out of 30 teams in the NBA. Coming into tonight’s game, the Sixers ranked 3rd in the NBA in team scoring, and 2nd in defense. Their point differential is 11.9 points, best in the NBA.
But the 76ers have no true “superstar” on the team. That is why 76ers roster is loaded with balance, as they have seven different players averaging more than 10 points a game. The Sixers have been lacking that superstar since the trade of Allen Iverson, and attendance has plummeted since.
They have not ranked higher than 23rd in the NBA in attendance since that December 19, 2006 trade, and the team has struggled to reach success since. They have reached the playoffs three times since the trade, but have not advanced past the first round.
Most notably was their playoff run last year, when they team overcame 3-13 start to finish 41-41, good enough for the 7th seed in the East but leaving the team unprepared for their first round matchup with the second seeded Miami Heat. The Heat beat the Sixers in 5 games, and eventually went all the way to the NBA finals before falling to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Sixers have had great success in the past with their superstar, Allen Iverson, with the team making most of their runs behind the play of Iverson, and leadership of Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown. From 2001-2004, the Sixers were in the top 5 every season in attendance, and the team made it to the NBA Finals in 2001, their first appearance since the 1983 Championship team.
Now the team is looking to start their own formula with a balanced team that plays great defense behind new coach Doug Collins, who helped the young squad improve from 27 wins in 2009-10 to 41 wins last year.
The team has had some good fortune in the past two years, starting with the 2010 draft lottery where they landed the second overall pick, which was only a six percent chance of happening. The team drafted Evan Turner, and hired Doug Collins two days later.
Turner has shown marked improvement in his second season with his points, rebounds, and assists averages increasing. Under the leadership of Collins the younger Sixers have continued their play from the end of the season, as they currently stand as the fourth best team in the East. The average age of the team is just 26 years old, but taking into account playing time the Sixers are the fourth youngest team in the NBA, as noted by hoopism.com.
Now the problem lies in keeping the record intact, and getting the city’s interest. The 76ers are by and large the fourth most popular sports team in town, behind the Pennant-Winning Phillies, the always Cup-Challenging Flyers, and the Wait-Till-Next-Year Eagles. With the Phillies being the only team winning a championship in the past 25 years and them seemingly turning the town Red in the process, it goes to show that the city can be won over.
The Sixers have a new ownership in place that wants to win and is making it a point to listen to their fans (As noted by their Vote for their next 76ers Mascot campaign). If the new ownership excitement and young talent come together to band more and more Sixers wins, fans will have to start coming to games. The more support team gets and more wins in the Eastern Conference, the more likely this team will make a deep run into the playoffs.
The team is currently in the midst of a 7 game home stand, which concludes against the Orlando Magic, the Chicago Bulls, and the Miami Heat, who stand 1-3 in the Eastern Conference standings. Winning two of these games will go a long way to winning over the tough Philadelphia crowd, and will show this young team can play with anyone.
“We have an atmosphere that’s been created, a winning atmosphere,” Starting Center Spencer Hawes said.
Let’s hope this atmosphere spreads throughout all of Philly.
Welcome to my sports blog, and thanks for visiting.
I am a senior at Temple University, and avid sports fan. I made this blog as an update for all Philly Sports, and to give awareness to the pressing sports issues. I will cover the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers in professional sports, while mostly covering Temple in the college sports world.
Check back weekly and I will write a piece on some of the important topics that all Philly Sports fans need to be in the know about.