Looking Back on the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers

Looking Back on the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers

As AU pointed out in last night's postgamer, the Charlotte Bobcats dished out not one, but two assists to the Sixers Thursday.
First, their 104-84 loss at the hands of the seventh-seeded New York Knicks ensured that the Sixers will not have to play the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Second, that loss also means that the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers — the worst team in NBA history — are no longer the worst team in NBA history.
Charlotte's 7-59 record (.106 winning percentage) is just barely worse than the the '73 team's 9-73 (.109). True, CSNPhilly's John Finger -- and the Bobcats fans who weren't wearing  teal and purple last night -- will argue that Charlotte's new "honor" isn't quite the same because it wasn't played in an 82-game season and that this compressed track meet of a year perhaps exacerbated the team's problems, but Kevin Loughery still thinks these Bobcats are worse than his Sixers.
Loughery, you might know, actually started the year as a player on that Sixers team, only to retire and immediately take over as head coach in the middle of the season, leading the team to a 5-26 finish. He said of the Bobcats earlier this week:

"Talent-wise, they might be the worst team ever," Kevin Loughery, who coached the 76ers during the second half of their Keystone Kops-like campaign, said of the Bobcats. "We had more talent than they did."

Though, in fairness, we'll point that Loughery goes on to reference how the league's talent pool has been diluted by a larger number of teams and players and that the Bobcats were, as he says, "playing with a lot of 10-day contract players" toward the end of the season. He even jokes that maybe the league should put an asterisk next to the record, considering the aforementioned impact of the lockout.
Oddly enough, some Sixers might genuinely be hoping for that. Multiple members of that team, including (the best player on the worst team in history) Fred "Mad Dog" Carter and that team's other head coach, Roy Rubin, are protective of their mark. In an article from FoxSportsFlorida, from which Loughery's above comments come, Rubin's wife says that the coach is in agreement with Carter's stance that the record not be broken, with both men citing the desire to be remembered for something. 
While some will scoff, this isn't a position that's all together unfathomable. After all, there were cheers at Citizens Bank Park on that day in 2007 when the Phillies became the first team in professional sports to lose 10,000 games. Having the worst team in professional basketball history was for a long time just another part of this city's sporting lore. Plus, it's not as if our city is unfamiliar with self-deprecation.
Oh, we should also point out that the team's record (obviously) earned it the No. 1 pick in the 1973 NBA Draft, which the franchise parlayed into both an All-Star and a future coach.
Anyhow, congratulations to the players on the '73 team who are happy to be rid of the record. As for Loughery, Rubin and Carter, we offer this new reason to remember them:

How miserable did it get when Rubin was coaching the team?

On Dec. 29, 1972, with the 76ers 3-30 and on their way to a 141-113 loss at Detroit, Rubin was ready to substitute for [forward John] Trapp, who was from Detroit and is now deceased. Trapp wasn't too happy about that so he told Rubin to look up into the stands. One of Trapp's buddies opened up his coat and exposed a gun

Yes, Trapp stayed in the game.

Loughery said he doesn't know that story. But Fred Carter, a guard who led the 76ers in scoring that season with a 20.0 average, has insisted it's true.

>>>76ers Happy to Give 'Worst' Title to Bobcats [FoxSportsFlorida]

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty had four goals, Brian Flynn scored twice during a six-goal first period and the Montreal Canadiens routed the Colorado Avalanche 10-1 on Saturday night.

Flynn, Pacioretty and Artturi Lehkonen each scored against Calvin Pickard in the opening 7:12, and then Pacioretty, Paul Byron and Flynn each had a goal among the first four shots on Semyon Varlamov.

Pacioretty completed his hat trick in the second period and added another in the third to give the captain seven goals in his last four games.

Alexander Radulov and Jeff Petry also scored for Montreal, which has shown no drop-off without injured scoring leader and first-line center Alex Galchenyuk. Montreal outshot the Avs 36-16 (see full recap).

Malkin, Crosby lead Penguins past Lightning 4-3
TAMPA, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby had another eventful night.

The Penguins star returned after passing concussion protocol following a first-period hit to get his 20th goal, and that stoked Pittsburgh's rally for its latest victory.

Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both scored their second goals on third-period power plays, helping the Penguins come back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday.

Crosby was shaken up by Luke Witkowski's check with eight minutes to go in the first but returned for the start of the second period (see full recap).

Late barrage helps Blue Jackets beat Islanders 6-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones each had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the New York Islanders 6-2 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

Josh Anderson, Brandon Saad and Lukas Sedlak also scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves.

Josh Bailey and John Tavares scored for New York, which had earned a point in a season-high five straight games (4-0-1). Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves until he was pulled after the Blue Jackets scored four consecutive goals in the third period.

Anderson put Columbus ahead 3-2 at 2:19 when he picked off a defensive pass and banged it in from the slot seconds after coming onto the ice for his shift (see full recap).

Matthews, Hyman score in 2nd, Maple Leafs beat Bruins 4-1
BOSTON -- The Toronto Maple Leafs found a way to overcome a poor opening period.

Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman scored in the second period, Frederik Andersen made 32 saves and the Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Saturday night.

"The last three games the first period kind of did us in," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't start on time. We were able to hold on. It still wasn't the first period we wanted, but we didn't give up the goals and we were able to execute a little bit."

After managing only two shots on goal in the first, Toronto was happy to get to the dressing room with the game scoreless (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Marc Gasol and Tony Allen scored 19 points each and the Memphis Grizzlies rolled over the Golden State Warriors 110-89 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 30 points in the second half - the biggest advantage by any Warriors opponent this season. Seven Memphis players finished in double figures.

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 21 points, while Stephen Curry added 17 points and Ian Clark finished with 10 points. Curry and backcourt starter Klay Thompson (eight points) were a combined 8 of 28 from the field, including 3 of 14 outside the arc.

Memphis built a double-digit lead early, led 61-38 at halftime and kept building in the third quarter (see full recap).

Butler, Wade lead Bulls to 105-100 win over Heat
CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler scored 31 points, Dwyane Wade added 28 against his former team and the Chicago Bulls held off the struggling Miami Heat 105-100 on Saturday night.

Butler scored Chicago's final 10 points to help the Bulls come out on top after Miami pulled within one.

Wade keyed a big third-quarter run in his second game against the Heat, and the Bulls hung on after handing San Antonio its first road loss two nights earlier.

Goran Dragic led Miami with 21 points and 11 assists. An energetic Hassan Whiteside added 20 points after being benched for part of Friday's blowout loss in Cleveland. Tyler Johnson scored 15, but the Heat dropped their fifth straight (see full recap).

LeBron scores 44, reaches assist mark as Cavs down Hornets
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 17 of his season-high 44 points in the fourth quarter and reached another career milestone as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 116-105 over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.

James did it all, adding 10 assists and nine rebounds in 43 minutes. He took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 straight during one stretch to help the Cavs hold on.

As the final seconds ticked off, James stood at midcourt and spun the ball on his index finger as the crowd roared.

James, who moved into ninth place on the career scoring list Friday, recorded his 7,000th assist in the first half, becoming the first frontcourt player in NBA history to reach the plateau. James is the only player with 27,000 points and 7,000 assists (see full recap).

George has 37 points to lead Pacers over Blazers 118-111
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George scored a season-high 37 points to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Portland Trail Blazers 118-111 on Saturday night.

George made five 3-pointers, and Thaddeus Young hit six 3s while getting 24 points and nine rebounds. Myles Turner added 14 points for the Pacers, who had lost five straight regular season games to Portland.

C.J. McCollum made a career-high seven 3-pointers and had a season-best 34 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard had 33 points behind five 3s.

George scored 13 straight points in the fourth quarter for Indiana. He was fouled on the go-ahead basket with 4:36 remaining and completed the three-point play to give the Pacers a 108-105 lead (see full recap).