Something seems off this week...Did I make a wrong turn off the Walt Whitman Bridge and travel 2400 miles west? It seems like, during the last three days, the Wells Fargo Center transformed into the Staples Center.
Let's start with Wednesday when Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers came to town. Unfortunately no one else did. The records indicate that 11,775 fans attended the game. I am not certain, but the machines used to calculate attendance, may have counted every fan twice.
As I looked around the arena I noticed far more empty seats then filled. In fact, during the second quarter, I chuckled at a fan's remarks about the endurance of Baron Davis. He was sitting fifteen sections away from me.
The Clippers have always been the second option in Los Angeles behind the Lakers. They are used to playing in half filled arenas, while their counterparts play to capacity every night.
That is why it was no surprise when the Lakers came to Philadelphia and a sellout crowd, just two days after the 76ers defeated the Clippers. And the Wells Fargo Center suddenly became the Staples Center East.
The who's who of Philadelphia came out to watch the suddenly surging Sixers take on the defending champs. The die hard 76ers fans were there, but they were surrounded by a few more casual fans, who thought the emergence of Michael Vick late in the 3rd quarter was more of a reason to cheer then the 76ers leading Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Thus far this season the Philadelphia 76ers are averaging 14,134 fans per game. That is during the first two months of the season in which the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and the Los Angeles Lakers all came to town. The capacity of the Wells Fargo Center is 20,444 fans. If you take these three high profile games out of the equation the average attendance during a Sixers game is only 12,852 fans.
For a team currently in a playoff race, you would think the Philadelphia 76ers would be a hot ticket. Not to mention the fact, they have taken the two reigning NBA finalists down to the wire. Are fans going to watch the Sixers play, or the opposition?
Philadelphia fans have emulated the attendance of the Staples Center this week. While the Lakers were given all the glory, the lowly Clippers played second fiddle... just in front of the third fiddle Sixers.