The wave of green and white jerseys rocked by Boston transplants and casual Philly haters crashed hard upon the Wells Fargo Center exit doors Friday night with two minutes remaining in an already decided game between the C’s and Sixers. The Sixers started the game just a half game up on the C’s in the Atlantic Division. Meaning this game would decide who would seize control of their own destiny in the NBA playoff race with a month to play in the season. Needless to say, this was a BIG game. I’ve been present at many of the Sixers home games this year and I’d be hard pressed to remember a crowd as jacked up as this one prior to tip. But, what started as a frenzied crowd quickly morphed in to a downtrodden group of fans as KG, the Celtics and even worse, the Celtics “fans” took control of the Well in the first half. The tide of green and white in the stands would eventually recede due to the 76ers victory, but the mental damage to the fragile psyche of Philly fans in the stands had already been done in front of a national television audience on ESPN. Fresh off a game against the Knicks in which the same thing happened, the fan embarrassment filled the atmosphere in the arena. This Philly fan has had enough. It’s time for us to stand up against the rising of the tide. It’s time for Philly fans to STAND UP!
It could be that the consistent portrayal of Philadelphia fans by the national media as heartless hooligans has finally beaten us down. It’s mind boggling and mentally draining to see us viewed in this light rather than lovable losers as Boston fans were tagged before their run of rings in the past 10 years. It’s tough to keep fighting a battle against those who just don’t know or want to know the true nature of Philadelphia or its fans. Or maybe were just stuck in Philly sports purgatory. Even 4 for 4 lifers tire of watching teams we know are good but that just don’t have enough to win a title or even realistically compete for one. When you’ve watched a flick so much that you can quote it line for line, you tend to start repeating those lines with less emphasis. It could even be that Philly has a new breed of fans. The notion of a “blue collar” Philadelphia holds true only in our antiquated image of Philly as a city. “White collar” workers are actually more representative of Philly now, which tends to signify a less intense, more relaxed fan that doesn’t view their sports teams as an extension of themselves. Whatever it is that has led to this fan malaise, I don’t care. Represent Philly.
It’s just a game. It’s just sports. You don’t know any of these players personally, do you? You think those players care about you? I’ve heard all of this and more before. So why should we care?
We should care because we are Philly. Us as fans are a representation of us as a city. We will never be New York. We will never be Boston. We’re the city others love to pick on because were easy targets. We’re Big enough to pay attention to, not big enough to actually respect. NY and Boston fans know this, as evidenced by their insistent yapping throughout both recent games against the Sixers. We’re the middle child in a family where all the children go to Harvard. And I for one am tired of waiting for my turn to talk at the dinner table.
We should care because we finally have winners in our town. It’s easy to forget that prior to the mid 2000′s, the Phillies were a laughing stock and that pre McNabb and Reid, the Birds were right there with them. It’s easy to forget that just a few years back, the Flyers were the worst team in the NHL and that the post real A.I. Sixers were at the bottom of the league in attendance. These 4 for 4 moments don’t happen often. Don’t sleep through the ride on your way to the destination. It’s often the obstacles that happen on the road to the goal that make you remember why you started the journey in the first place. We all want championships, but were not there yet.
We should care because were better than them. If there’s one thing Philly fans are not, it’s frauds. New York “fans” chanted MVP for Kobe in MSG as recently as a month ago. Boston “fans” in Philly stands sport KG and other Big 3 jerseys because they can’t rock their Iverson jerseys anymore. It’s easy to tell if you’re a Boston or New York native. You have a pretty distinct accent. If you don’t have that, you live in Philly and hopped on the first bandwagon you saw. Your fresh Larry Bird throwback looks nice on you kid, but, uh, dude your 18. Larry Legend retired before you were even conceived. Philly doesn’t front. You’re either with us or against us and it’s time for us to remind these fraudulent violators that when “you come into our house, you should get your behind kicked!” We shouldn’t need to wait until our teams are winning to shut down the competition in the stands in our own building.
I could go on, but a conversation with a Sixers fan in the stands last night sums things up nicely. Louise is in her sixties. She’s a season ticket holder and an old school Philadelphian. After the exodus of C’s fans leaving the Well occurred last night she couldn’t just couldn’t hold it in any longer. “We won and I’m happy, but that was embarrassing. Those Boston fans ruined my night.”
Step up your fan game Philly. Louise ain’t playing around anymore.
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The 76ers have a tough road to hoe over the next 12 days. Starting Wednesday at the Pacers, the Sixers play a brutal stretch of games against the NBA’s Elite. Because it wasn’t enough to have 7 games in 12 days, 4 come against teams with better records than the Atlantic Division leaders and 2 are face-offs against revenge minded division rivals. In order of appearance (Home games in bold), they’ll take on the Pacers, Heat, Bulls, Bobcats, Knicks, C’s and Spurs.
Spencer Hawes’ much anticipated return to the line-up should help stop the scoring barrage the Sixers have allowed to opposing point guards this season by limiting their ability to drive at will to the paint. Philly faces LBJ, D. Wade, Derrick Rose, Rondo, and Tony Parker during this stretch and will need to minimize their contributions if they hope to have any success. Hawes will play no more than 5 minute stretches according to the team and won’t play back to backs, but it will be nice to see the 23 year old back in action for a team that went 12-2 this season during his starts.
The 76ers have a new life of late due to new starter Evan Turner’s aggressive play. The Sixers are a different team with the ball in ET’s hands. He’s penetrating, finding open shots, creating more movement in the half court and crashing the boards like the Sixers envisioned he would when they selected him #2 overall in 2010. If his great play continues and Hawes contributes consistently, the Sixers could go 4-3 over this stretch and maintain their lead over the Celtics in the division.
They won’t best the Heat, Bulls or embarrased C’s but they can handle the Pacers size with Hawes, steal one from the Spurs, and easily defeat the D-League All-Stars and crumbling Knicks.
The Flyers take on Western Conference foe and perennial powerhouse Detroit Red Wings tonight at home. The two teams squared off in early February at Detroit in an exciting game that ended with a Detroit goal with 52 seconds remaining, giving the Wings a 4-3 victory. Ilya Bryzgalov comes into this one after what has to be his best performance in net of the year. Bryz stopped all 34 of the Caps shots Sunday and came up “humongous big” for a Flyers team already missing two key defenseman. The Wings have injury problems of their and will start this game with four recent arrivals from the AHL looking to receive playing time. Detroit will be without star center Pavel Datsyuk, goalie Jimmy Howard and future HOF defenseman Nik Lidstrom. Detroit enters Philly in fourth place in the West but only one win away from overtaking first play in the conference. They’ve also lost six straight in Philadelphia and look to turn that around against an up and down Flyers team. If Bryz can continue his stellar play of late, the injury ravaged Wings shouldn’t stand a chance in this one. The Philly fans should be more than ready for the Wings as Flyers legend Mark Howe’s #2 jersey will be retired before the game. The Flyers next game is at home against the Panthers on Thursday. Flyers-Red Wings Game Preview: http://tinyurl.com/73p6mhz
- Philadelphia to retire Mark Howe’s No. 2 tonight (prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com)
- Ilya Bryzgalov’s heroics in front of goal help Philadelphia Flyers win 1-0 against Washington Capitals – NHL Update (blogs.bettor.com)
- Detroit G Jimmy Howard has groin strain, won’t make trip to Philadelphia (aol.sportingnews.com)
Has there been a more enigmatic Philadelphia ball player than the man that played the hot corner for the Philadelphia Phillies for 18 years, Mike Schmidt? At times more hated than loved, but always cherished, the man affectionately called by his full name Michael Jack Schmidt, is a true legend and Philadelphia icon. His personality may not have always meshed with the city, but his gritty play and HOF ability displayed on the field forced us to make room for #20 in our pantheon of Philly greats. Over his 18 year career, Schmidty averaged .267 with 37 HR’s, 107 R.B.I.’s, 102 BB’s, 101 Runs and 1 hell of a ballpark sandwich! On top of the stats he had the Awards to back it up. Schmidt was a 3 time NL MVP, 12 time All-Star, and 10 time Gold Glove Winner. He led the Phillies to 5 appearances in the NLCS (winning 2), and finally won the city a World Series in 80’ against the Royals.
Congratulations Michael Jack Schmidt! You’re this week’s “Ol’ Skool Playa of the Week”. We know you’re thankful, just don’t get all soggy eyed on us.
Mike Scmidt’s Stats:
Mike Schmidt Hits #500
Audio by Harry Kalas:
Video of #500:
With their Atlantic Division lead now shrunk to two games over the Celtics after a loss to the Bulls last night, the Sixers look to rebound against the lowly Bucks in Milwaukee tonight at 8:00 PM. The Bucks may be just what the Dr. ordered for the Sixers who have now dropped seven of their past nine games. Milwaukee is on a streak of their own, losing nine of their past 11, despite good performances from trigger happy guard Brandon Jennings. Jennings scored 27 points and dropped 5 dimes and 34 points and 9 assists in his last two contests, both Bucks losses. Despite their record, the Bucks have a combination of perimeter scoring in Jennings and Mike Dunleavy and size down low in Bogut, Drew Gooden and Stephen Jackson that typically gives the Sixers fits. The two teams play similar line-ups in that six Bucks also average double figures and tend to share the role of star on a nightly basis. The lack of a star for the Sixers caused chaos in the 96-91 loss to the Bulls last night, as the team was unable to hit key shots, or even run key sets down the stretch. A hot Thaddeus Young, who had scored the last 8 points for the Sixers during a crucial run to narrow the 13 point Bull’s lead to 2, was left out of the mix. Instead, the combination of poor shot selection by Andre Igoudala with a minute remaining and a broken play in the game’s final seconds leading to a rushed shot by A.I.9, caused the 76ers downfall. This game has added significance for the Sixers due to the fact that Boston comes to Philadelphia Wednesday with a chance to cut the Sixers lead in the Division further.
76ers-Bucks Game Preview: http://tinyurl.com/86kmwnj
76ers-Bulls Game Recap & Box Score: http://tinyurl.com/7ddtu7v
- Sixers-Bucks: What you need to know (csnphilly.com)
- Sixers Look To Rebound Vs. The Bucks (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Bulls Vs. Sixers Final Score: Derrick Rose Takes Over In 96-91 Win (sbnation.com)
Sure, we’re all watching the Phillies play the Yanks this afternoon (1:05 PM on MLB). But, what do you do tonight when both the 76ers and Flyers play at 7:00 in match-ups that get the fans going.
PhILLadelph’s Sunday ? of the Day:
Who Ya Got? 76ers vs. Bulls, tonight at 7:00 on CSN/ESPN or Flyers vs. Caps, tonight at 7:00 on NBC Sports Network?
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- Philadelphia Flyers vs. Washington Capitals – 7:00 on NBC Sports (philladelphsportslife.com)
- Sixers at the Break – Or – “It Was All Good Just a Week Ago” (philladelphsportslife.com)
The Flyers travel down 95 Sunday night to visit the Washington Capitals in the continuation of a recently heated rivalry. They will do so without JVR, a key component to the already constantly shuffling line-up. The Caps and Flyers face off for the third time this season, with the series even at one game per side. Both Philly and Washington have played mediocre hockey as of late, as the Caps have recorded only four wins over their past ten games and the Flyers just 5, over that same stretch. Although the Flyers hold a nine point advantage over the Caps in the standings, Washington actually has a better chance of hosting a playoff series with 18 games remaining, because they trail Florida by only three points in the weak Southeast division. The Flyers look to keep the momentum going from their spectacular performance against the Islanders Thursday, when previously stagnant players Danny Briere and Jaromir Jagr finally got off the snide. Meanwhile, Washington hopes to erase the memories of their last game (5-0 loss to NJ) by capturing a win against their former division rival.Flyers-Capitals Game Preview & Flyers Season Statistics: http://tinyurl.com/7s29v3z
- Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Islanders – 7:00 on CSN (philladelphsportslife.com)
- Flyers recall Wellwood in JVR’s absence (csnphilly.com)
- Flyers Vs. Capitals: Tomas Vokoun ‘Day-To-Day’ With Lower-Body Injury (dc.sbnation.com)
Fresh off an impressive performance against Golden State on Friday, the 76ers take on the revenge minded Chicago Bulls at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated Chicago 98-82 on February 1st in a game where reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose missed much of the second half due to illness and first time NBA All-Star Luol Deng missed due to injury. The Bulls own the NBA’s best record at 30-8, thanks to a balanced approach on both sides of the ball. Chicago is second in the league in both scoring defense and rebounding, and is also in the top six in scoring offense. Since their loss to the Sixers in early February, the Bulls have gone 12-2, while the Sixers have managed just two wins in 7 tries at home. The Sixers have matched up well against the Bulls recently, holding them to just 88 points per game and forcing D. Rose to turn the ball over six times per, over the last 3 match-ups. 76ers-Bulls Game Preview: http://tinyurl.com/7ddtu7v
- Luol Deng: Will He Be the Difference in Rematches Against 76ers and Pacers? (bleacherreport.com)
- Philadelphia 76ers vs. Golden State Warriors – 8:00 on CSN/ESPN (philladelphsportslife.com)
- Philadelphia 76ers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – 7:00 on CSN (philladelphsportslife.com)
The Sixers (21-15) take on the Golden State Warriors (14-18) tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in a matchup of Wilt “The Big Dipper” Chamberlain’s former teams. The 76ers will honor Wilt on the 50th anniversary of his historic 100 point night in Hershey, PA by giving out pieces of the actual court the game was played on to all fans. Meanwhile, the Sixers have gone 19th straight contests without scoring 100 points as a team. They face a Warriors team that has won 3 of 4, but that may be without star guard Stephen Curry in the line-up. Prolific scorer and recent trade bait offering, Monta Ellis (22.2 PPG) and forward David Lee (19.9 PPG) will attempt to pick up the slack against a defensive minded Sixers team that has excelled against weaker competition so far this season. 76ers-Warriors Game Preview: http://tinyurl.com/7cs2jvv
Update: The 76ers out fought the Warriors 105-83 at the Wells Fargo Center, receiving strong contributions from #Night Shift foreman Lou Williams and a suddenly sprite Elton Brand. Lou Will dropped 25 points (15 in the 4th quarter) off of a very efficient 9 of 15 shooting (3-6 3 PT) in the blowout win Friday night. Due to his 4th quarter run, Williams is now third in the league in points scored in the final session, behind only Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. Brand added his second consecutive double-double, scoring 14 and grabbing 14 boards. The Sixers broke a 4 game home losing streak by out rebounding GSW 51-39 and scoring over 100 points for the first time in 20 games. Much maligned second year man, Evan Turner also added a confidence building performance, running the point for much of the 4th and leading Lou Will and Jrue Holliday to a 10-2 run during a critical stretch of the game. The 76ers face reigning M.V.P. D. Rose and the Bulls on Sunday at home. 76ers-Warriors Video Recap & Box Score: http://tinyurl.com/7cs2jvv
- Sixers Will Celebrate Wilt, Try For A Win Vs. Warriors (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- 76ers Schedule 2012: ‘Wilt Night’ And Re-Match With The Chicago Bulls (philly.sbnation.com)
- Chamberlain’s 100-Point Game For Warriors Hits 50-Year Mark (sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com)