Tag Archive for NBA

Philadelphia 76ers: Will NBA’s Final 2011-12 Home Opener Sell Out?

Did the 3-2 Philadelphia 76ers create enough buzz in the City of Brotherly Love to fill their arena for their NBA home opener? Philly’s first home game of the season rocks and rolls this Friday, but will Wells Fargo Center be rocking?

Like a rock of ages, the Sixers have been a Philadelphia sports cornerstone since 1963. Now, the franchise hopes to have somewhat of a miracle happen—a sellout—to help rock their opponents.

Back in the day, according to the Bible, Moses struck a rock in the wilderness and drew water to feed the Children of Israel.

Now, the Sixers hope their home crowd flows into Wells Fargo like mighty waters for the team to feed off of.

Also, Philly’s hungry new owners want to avoid their worst nightmare—that the lockout sapped even more fan interest in the 76ers.

The new owners, therefore, have worked hard to reach out and reconnect with fans. Among their actions include lowering ticket prices, buying some of Dr. J’s memorabilia and including a Philly native (Will Smith) in the ownership group.

Therefore, it’ll be intriguing to see just how much the attempt to reconnect with fans impacts home attendance.

Despite the most grueling early schedule in the league, as true fans know, the exciting 76ers come home in second place behind Boston in the Atlantic Division. While Philadelphia opened with an unprecedented five-game road trip, their only losses came at Portland and Utah.

According to ESPN.com, after the first road trip the 76ers averaged 17,650 attendees.

In comparison, several NBA teams are averaging more than 19,000 attendees on the road, but several are also attracting less than the Sixers’ amount.

With an average of over 22,000 fans per game, the Chicago Bulls lead the NBA in home attendance so far this season.

The Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat are the only other teams averaging over 20,000.

The Detroit Pistons have the lowest home attendance average so far this season, attracting just over 12,000 fans per game. The Hornets are next to last with an average of around 15,300.

If the Sixers can average somewhere between the Lakers, Knicks and Hawks, then I’d be impressed. That would be anywhere from 17-19,000.

The NBA’s average attendance last season was 17,319. Last year, averaging 14,751 people per game, Philadelphia ranked No. 25 of 30 in NBA home attendance.

Philadelphia also has a National Lacrosse League team, Villanova basketball, and an arena football squad for the Sixers to compete for love with. So in one of America’s most crowded professional sports towns, the 76ers could likely still lag behind the Phillies, Eagles and Flyers for home attendance.

But the 76ers don’t really have a household name, other than Andre Iguodala, that can put people in the seats.

After numerous rumors early last summer about Iguodala possibly leaving the Sixers, he’s been fantastic so far. If he’s not carrying the team, then he’s making the key plays even on his off-shot nights.

The 76ers also have an entertaining core of reserves who will provide the home fans with lots of excitement. Thaddeus Young, Louis Williams and Evan Turner are capable of scoring 20 points apiece on any given night. Their capabilities only increase at home.

Interestingly, the Wells Fargo Center is the only NBA venue yet to host a home game this season. All other teams have played at least two.

All that changes, though, this Friday when Detroit arrives to play the Sixers. I believe the 76ers have generated enough buzz to sell out the opener and help the Sixers rock the Pistons.

I’ll be watching, though, to see if attendance boosts in the wake of the 76ers playoff appearance and offseason moves. I’ll let you, my loyal readers; know how it went down—if the game was a sell out and if the house was rocking.

As for you all, stay down with me. Catch my appearances throughout this year for more entertaining renditions of Lake’s Liberty Ball Breakdown

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Miami Heat: What We Learned About the Heat in Their Triple Overtime Win

It’s amazing that the Miami Heat, who lost 100-92 to the Atlanta Hawks at home just a few days ago with both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the court, were able to beat the Hawks in their home court, without LeBron and Wade, in a 116-109 triple overtime thriller.

There’s no way that the Heat are a better team without James and Wade, right?  Yes, the Heat are still at their best when a healthy LeBron and and a healthy Wade are both in the starting lineup, but we did learn something special last night about what the Heat can do without their two brightest stars.

We learned that the Miami Heat have incredible depth on their bench, and they need to start using it more often.

While the Heat’s high scorers were both starters, Chris Bosh with 33 points and Mario Chalmers (who undoubtedly solidified himself as the Heat’s starting point guard) with 29 points, the Heat’s other 54 points came from players off of the Heat’s bench.

Here is a list of the Heat’s “bench” production in their win against the Hawks: James Jones (5 points), Shane Battier (9 points), Dexter Pittman (5 points), Udonis Haslem (14 points), Norris Cole (9 points) and Terrel Harris (9 points).  That is solid production all across the floor from players who aren’t often called on to provide serious offensive production.

One of the most impressive surprises of the Heat’s triple overtime win was the play of rookie Terrel Harris, who spent all last year hopping around the NBA‘s developmental league.  Harris was one point away from going for a double double, with nine points and a thoroughly impressive 14 rebounds, seven of which were offensive rebounds.  Harris’ production will surely earn him some more time at the shooting guard position behind Dwyane Wade, James Jones and possibly Norris Cole.

Almost more impressive than the Heat’s ability to get serious bench production was the way that their starters and their bench players alike played defense against the Hawks.

The Heat’s defense down the stretch was the difference maker in their 116-109 win, holding the Hawks to 38.3 percent shooting overall, as compared to the Hawks’ 47.6 percent shooting percentage in last week’s matchup.

So how did the Heat, without LeBron and Wade, lock down the Hawks, holding them scoreless in the third and final overtime?  The Heat’s bench did so without crashing on every dribble drive like they did in last week’s game, allowing the Hawks to beat them by hitting opportunistic three-pointers.

The Heat locked down the Hawks by forcing them to beat them in the paint against Bosh, Haslem and Anthony, something the Hawks proved they couldn’t do.

The Heat allowed Hawks guards to penetrate into the lane, while still maintaining defensive focus on the Hawks’ outside shooters, ultimately contesting their three-point shots which resulted in the Hawks only hitting 6-of-22 three-pointers for a measly 27.3 percent shooting percentage.

To help put that into perspective, you should know that the Hawks went 9-of-16 (56.3 percent shooting percentage) from beyond the arc, which included two deep three-pointers from Tracy McGrady that sealed the Heat’s fate.

With the Heat’s overtime win, we learned that the Heat are better off trusting their post-defenders’ ability to help in the paint with Joel Anthony, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem, instead of bringing help-side defense on every drive from the guard and small forward position.

We also learned that the Heat’s bench is much stronger than most of us had originally thought.  What some considered the Heat’s biggest weakness, their lack of “depth” on their bench, might just be one of their biggest strengths.

Without LeBron and Wade on the bench against a Hawks team that will undoubtedly be in the playoffs, we might never have known the talent that is buried deep on the Heat’s bench.

The Miami Heat did the unthinkable by beating the Atlanta Hawks without LeBron and Wade, and they taught Heat fans two things about their team that they didn’t know before—that there is legitimate depth on their bench and that trusting their interior defense is a key to winning games.

The Heat’s 116-109 win over the Atlanta Hawks might have taught us more about their team than any other win of the season so far.  Good things are in store for the Miami Heat in 2011-12, that’s for sure. 

Charles Barkley Video: Watch Sir Charles’ Hilarious Weight Watchers Comments

So much for Charles Barkley serving as a spokesperson for Weight Watchers.

The outspoken NBA Hall of Famer and TNT personality was caught trashing the famed weight-loss program of which he is the new face during the first quarter of Thursday night’s game between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks. Sir Charles referred to Weight Watchers as “a scam,” not unlike paying people like him to sit and watch sports.

Of course, the Basketball Player Formerly Known as the Round Mound of Rebound had some good things to say about the program. He revealed that he has, indeed, lost two pounds per week and a whopping 38 pounds overall and that he’s been keeping up with all the weigh-ins.

Barkley then claimed that he’d never pay for Weight Watchers, and that he’s doing it only because he’s getting paid for it.

As offended as the folks at Weight Watchers might be, at least they weren’t the Atlanta Hawks. Barkley went on to rip the Hawks, calling them a bunch of “nice guys” and suggesting that they go after Dwight Howard. Luckily, Reggie Miller was there to inform Sir Charles that DH12 has no desire to play for his hometown team.

Gotta love Barkley’s honesty and candor, even if it’s not supposed to be on camera. Let’s just hope Weight Watchers doesn’t come down too hard on him.

After all, he’s never missed a weigh-in.

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