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]

NBA Finals: Warriors coach Steve Kerr not well yet , but hasn't ruled himself out for Game 1

NBA Finals: Warriors coach Steve Kerr not well yet , but hasn't ruled himself out for Game 1

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Golden State's Steve Kerr expects to decide soon whether he will coach in the NBA Finals, saying Monday he's not yet ready but hasn't ruled himself out for Game 1.

Kerr said: "As of right now I would not coach Thursday night. It's still up in the air." He said that by Game 1, he might make a decision on his status.

The reigning NBA Coach of the Year, still not feeling well after a May 5 procedure to repair a spinal fluid leak, addressed the media Monday when acting coach Mike Brown was out with the flu.

He joked: "I told the team the good news is the team is really healthy, the bad news is the coaching staff is dropping like flies."

Brown has been coaching the team since Game 3 of the first round at Portland, with Kerr assisting at practice and from the locker room before and during games.

Inside Doop: How a record win streak came to an end

Inside Doop: How a record win streak came to an end

Over the course of a long season, there are forgettable games where few things — or players — stand out.

Saturday night’s Union game out in Salt Lake City seemed like one of those — but will still be remembered for the fact that it ended a record winning streak.

Here’s a closer look at the 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake that snapped Philly’s four-game winning and six-game unbeaten streaks, as well as a look ahead for a team that will now look to start another one.

Three thoughts about Saturday’s game
1. There was one play early in the game that could have been exceptional as Haris Medunjanin lofted a pinpoint over-the-top pass from midfield to Fafa Picault, who got behind the defense and controlled it perfectly. But Picault’s first attempt and his follow-up were both saved — the second on a goal-line clearance from defender Aaron Maund — and the Union had few other good chances as their offense dried up. That was perhaps, bound to happen, after the team, led in part by the strong play of newcomers Medunjanin and Picault, scored multiple goals in every other game this month.

2. While Nick Rimando showed why he’s the most accomplished MLS goalie ever by earning the shutout, Andre Blake showed why he’s the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year with even better saves, including a few spectacular diving and leaping ones. Blake certainly wasn’t to blame for the Union’s eight-game winless streak to start the season but he also wasn’t making the kind of game-changing saves Philly fans grew accustomed to last year. Now that he is, it’s one of the big reasons why the Union are back in the playoff race, despite Saturday’s loss. 

3. Although it didn’t really show earlier in the season, one of the Union’s biggest strengths is depth at the winger position as they have four players — Picault, Chris Pontius, Ilsinho and Fabian Herbers — who are capable MLS starters. But with Herbers injured and Ilsinho sliding over to the central midfield, head coach Jim Curtin needed to call upon rookie Marcus Epps as his first winger off the bench. It was a difficult MLS debut playing on the road, across the country, with the team pushing for a late goal. But Curtin likes throwing guys into the fire to see what they’re made of, and will likely use Epps’ minutes in Utah as a springboard moving forward.

Three questions for the week ahead
1. The Union had a busy end of the month, flying out to Salt Lake City a few days after a three-games-in-eight-day stretch. But they also have 15 days between MLS games following Saturday’s contest vs. New York City FC at Yankee Stadium (1:00, 6ABC). So does Curtin opt to give guys some rest because of the former or trot out the same lineup because of the latter? There are also other things to consider, including the fact that the Union will open U.S. Open Cup play on June 14 — often an ideal time to give minutes to younger guys and backups.

2. One particular position to watch is the No. 10 attacking midfield spot. Ilsinho had filled in beautifully there in place of the injured Roland Alberg, particularly during a 2-0 win over Houston on May 17. But he was mostly invisible vs. RSL, a game in which Alberg returned from a three-game absence. Considering both have never really been 90-minute players and have similar playmaking abilities, could Curtin consider a platoon with Alberg and Ilsinho? Or will Ilsinho return to the wing, at least until Herbers returns from his injury?

3. Another spot to watch is the backline, which had been mostly kept intact during the team’s six-game unbeaten run. But now that the team lost, will Curtin go back to starters Keegan Rosenberry and/or Richie Marquez? What about Josh Yaro, who’s on the mend from shoulder surgery? The makeshift group that included Jack Elliott, Oguchi Onyewu, and Ray Gaddis should be commended for changing the course of the season, but it seems unlikely that Rosenberry and Marquez will remain on the bench must longer considering they were two of the team’s most promising players last year.

Stat of the week
Fabinho played his 100th MLS game Saturday. The only other players to surpass 100 games for the Union have been Sebastien Le Toux, Brian Carroll, Sheanon Williams, Gaddis and Amobi Okugo.  

Quote of the week
“A good run of six games comes to an end for us now. We’ll have to look forward to starting a new streak as we go away to New York City next week.”

— Union manager Jim Curtin 

Player of the week
Andre Blake got the loss but still had one of his best games of the season, wowing the crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium on more than one occasion.