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October 28 Philadelphia Daily News:
“THREE WEEKS ago, when the Flyers opened their season at the Wells Fargo Center, an orange-and-black banner was raised commemorating the team’s winning the Eastern Conference championship last season.
Last night at the same venue, the only thing that fans were expecting to be raised was a white flag by the 76ers.
The vaunted Miami Heat, coming off a season-opening loss in Boston the night before, defeated the Sixers, 97-87.
But, it wasn’t as quick as the 1-2-3 punch that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will certainly provide many times this year to opposing teams. The outcome was due more to the three-point haymakers thrown by reserve swingman James Jones.
Jones knocked down six of nine three-pointers en route to 20 points off the bench. He was instrumental, along with Wade, in leading the Heat to a decisive 31-13 third quarter that took the air out of the Sixers and their vocal fans.
The first half was actually quite competitive and assuring to the sellout crowd of 20,389. The Sixers limited the Heat’s fastbreak, held their own on the boards and got great play from their bench.
But in the third quarter, Wade decided to put the team that he has carried throughout his 8-year career on his shoulders. He scored 10 of the Heat’s first 18 points of the quarter, helping Miami pull in front by 18. And when Jones hit a couple more treys late in the quarter, the lead ballooned to 25.
October 28 Camden Courier-Post:
“The result wasn’t unexpected. The Miami Heat have three perennial All-Stars, led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
The 76ers have none.
But somewhere in the Sixers’ 97-87 loss in their season-opener Wednesday, they found something they could look perhaps look forward to in the future.
That was rookie Evan Turner.
He was playing his first career NBA game. He didn’t start, but he came off the bench to lead the Sixers with 16 points in 31 minutes.
And Turner had perhaps the highlight of the night when he crossed over Wade early in the fourth quarter, then stepped back for an 18-foot jumper.
“I was nervous they were going to call a travel,” Turner said about that play. “In college, they called it all the time.”
Turner hadn’t shown this throughout the preseason as he struggled with his shot, and with meshing with his teammates.
October 28 Philadelphia Daily News:
“Doug Collins has seen all the hoopla before. The media circus surrounding the Miami Heat’s visit last night brought back memories to Collins of his early years as a player with the 76ers. The buzz that has been created with the addition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to a team that already boasted superstar Dwyane Wade is unmatched in the NBA, probably in all of sports.
“I maybe have played on what I call the first ‘rock-show’ team,” the new Sixers coach said before last night’s game. “We had Julius [Erving] and George McGinnis. I don’t put myself into that mix. People got to the arena early to watch the layup line and the [pregame] dunk contest. It was amazing. Every arena we went to it was always sold out and it brought a certain energy, and our guys thrived on that.”
Last night, at the Wells Fargo Center, fans rushed in when the doors opened an hour-and-a-half before the game and crammed the tunnel-area where Heat players emerged from the locker room to get to the court. People took pictures with cell phones and cameras as James and Co. warmed up. Fans strained for autographs, others shouted angry words toward James in particular, whose departure from Cleveland – and the way he announced it – left many with ill-feelings toward him.
“I’m used to it,” said James of having a bull’s-eye on his back. “I’ve become friends with the bull’s-eye.”
October 28 Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Smallwood:
“EVAN TURNER is not Allen Iverson, and
Dwyane Wade is not Michael Jordan.
Still, there was a familiarity to the move Turner put on Wade with about 8 1/2 minutes left in his NBA debut last night for the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center.
It was a crossover dribble that left Wade falling off balance to one side while Turner calmly pulled up for an 18-foot jumper.
A lifetime ago, back in 1996, Iverson, during his rookie season, brought the crowd at the then-CoreStates Center to its feet by unleashing an ankle-breaking, crossover/jump-shot combination that left Jordan stumbling for his jock strap.
Like Jordan, Wade complained to the officials.
“I’ve seen that [Iverson-Jordan clip],” Turner said after he had a team-high 16 points with seven rebounds and four assists in the Sixers’ 97-87, season-opening loss to the Miami Heat. “Some people say it was a carry.
“I don’t know. I didn’t even think about it. It’s a cool move that I’ve been doing my whole life. I never considered anything more than that.”
This was a relief.
October 28 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan:
“The 76ers opened their season Wednesday night against a very similar team. The Miami Heat have a new look. Like the Sixers, Miami is trying to figure out how all its pieces will fit together.
If you made it this far with a straight face, good for you.
Truth is, most of what is wrong with the National Basketball Association was on vulgar display here. The Sixers, who had to hire Doug Collins to add a name with some star power to their lost franchise, and the overstuffed Heat operate in different universes (but, oddly, in the same conference).
This ego-driven Heat media orgy has only just begun to annoy. If LeBron James’ The Decision and that wretched introductory “event” at the Heat’s arena – Question: Were the people behind Glee involved in the staging? – seemed like the height of self-indulgent sewage, you ain’t smelled nothin’ yet. James’ new Nike commercial just got dumped onto your TV screen, and now the regular season, with its months of contrived melodrama, is upon us.
Admittedly, it was just swell that the hype-drenched James and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh got smoked in their debut in Boston on Tuesday night. It had to be hard for James to return to the place where he tanked his final game in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform. Wade has been out with a hamstring injury. Bosh’s pupils will take time to adjust to the glare after playing his entire career in Toronto, where the NBA is (and should be) an afterthought.
October 28 Philadelphia Inquirer”
“We’d seen this before.
The bottom dropped from beneath the 76ers on Wednesday night.
In front of a sold-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center, a tight contest with the Miami Heat had turned into a blowout, which was then only a few plays from becoming an embarrassment.
But instead of welcoming the fall, letting gravity do its work, the Sixers did something rarely seen last season: They clawed themselves to respectability.
Miami won, 97-87.
But if you watched every last moment, pride was displayed and a darn good performance – exciting, really – from rookie guard Evan Turner.
The Sixers started the season 0-1. The Heat, led by Dwyane Wade’s 30 points, pulled even at 1-1. LeBron James and Chris Bosh, the other two players in Miami’s all-star trio, combined for 31 points and 13 rebounds.
After the game, Sixers coach Doug Collins seemed near tears about the response his team received.
“You know what was great? When we left the floor tonight, fans cheered,” Collins said. “They cheered, OK? You know what that meant to our team in the locker room, that those fans cheered them? Because a lot of these guys haven’t even felt that before.”
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