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 NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade scored 22 points in a triumphant Chicago debut, Jimmy Butler had 24 and the Bulls won their season opener, beating the Boston Celtics 105-99 on Thursday night.

Wade nailed a 3 from the corner in the final minute to make it a five-point game. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the new-look Bulls got off to a winning start after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points. Avery Bradley had 16, and Jae Crowder 14 points, but the Celtics came up short after opening with a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

The Bulls remade their roster in the offseason, jettisoning one hometown superstar and welcoming another when they traded Derrick Rose to New York and signed Wade to a two-year deal worth about $47 million in a move that stunned Miami.

The three-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star is off to a good start with the Bulls after 13 seasons with the Heat.

Wade hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in this game after making just seven all of last season (see full recap).

New-look Hawks roll past Wizards
ATLANTA -- Dwight Howard dominated the boards in his Atlanta debut, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 victory over the Washington Wizards in their season opener Thursday night.

Howard grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks expected from their new center, and it certainly wasn't unusual for three-time All-Star Millsap to lead the way in scoring.

But Hardaway's performance was totally unexpected given the way he struggled in his first season with the Hawks, when he was largely confined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, matching his high in an Atlanta uniform, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 heading to the final period, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the final 12 minutes (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty scored the tiebreaking goal in Montreal's three-goal third period as the Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Thursday night for their sixth straight win.

Alex Galchenyuk and Torrey Mitchell also scored to help Montreal improve to 7-0-1. Carey Price made 29 saves to win for the fourth time in four starts this season.

Alex Killorn scored the lone goal for the Lightning, who lost against an Eastern-Conference opponent for the first time this season. Ben Bishop stopped 23 shots.

With the scored tied 1-1, Pacioretty got the go-ahead goal at 10:23 by beating Bishop glove-side. Blown coverage by the Lightning left the Canadiens' captain all alone on the edge of the face-off circle, and Bishop couldn't see the shot with Andrew Shaw posted firmly in front of goal.

Montreal remains the only NHL team still undefeated in regulation (see full recap).

Crosby's late goal gives Penguins win over Islanders
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Patric Hornqvist, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel also scored -- each getting his third of the season -- to help the Penguins win for the third time in four games and improve to 5-0-1 at home.

Crosby, playing for the second straight game after missing the first six with a concussion, scored with 2:25 left as he caught a pass from Scott Wilson at the top of the crease and quickly turned to his forehand to put the puck behind Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Kessel added a power-play goal to cap the scoring 32 seconds later.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots while starting for the eighth straight game.

Travis Hamonic and Shane Prince scored for the Islanders, and Halak finished with 31 saves (see full recap).

Streaking Red Wings win marathon shootout vs. Blues
ST. LOUIS -- Henrik Zetterberg scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Zetterberg's goal gave the Red Wings a six-game winning streak.

In the shootout, St. Louis' first shooter, Alexander Steen, scored but then Vladimir Tarasenko, Kevin Shattenkirk, David Perron, Nail Yakupoc, Robby Fabbri, Patrick Burgland and Dmitrjij Jaskin all came up short.

Gustav Nyquist scored on Detroit's second attempt but Frans Nielsen, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheehan and Darren Helm all missed.

St. Louis had the better chances in overtime. Center Jaden Schwartz missed a wide-open net early in the extra session. Jori Lehtera was stopped on a breakaway midway through the period by Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek (see full recap).