Sixers’ schedule offers home intrigue


BY JOE PHELAN

For the second straight year, the NBA shut out Philadelphia from nationally televised games.

Although it should come as no surprise considering Philadelphia’s consecutive sub 20-win seasons, the two teams that finished worse than the 76ers last season (Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks) combined to have 12 nationally televised games.

Philadelphia joins Detroit and Denver as the teams without a game on ESPN, ABC or TNT. The 76ers will open at Boston on Wednesday, Oct. 28 before their home opener against Utah two days later. Philadelphia has two six-game road trips before New Year’s.

The 76ers face a brutal stretch to start the season: eight of their first 11 games come against playoff teams from last season, including away games against Milwaukee, Cleveland, San Antonio and if-healthy playoff team Oklahoma City.

Here are five of the most intriguing home games:

Los Angeles Lakers (Tuesday, Dec. 1) – This could be Kobe Bryant’s last game in his hometown. That alone makes this the most intriguing game on the schedule. Jahlil Okafor’s first game against the team that past on him in the draft adds even more intrigue.

Minnesota Timberwolves (Monday, Jan. 4) – The two top rookie big men, Karl-Anthony Towns and Okafor, matchup for the second time. Anytime these two play each other there’s intrigue.

Golden State Warriors (Saturday, Jan. 30) – Fresh off winning Finals’ MVP, Andre Iguodala returns to Philadelphia. Philadelphia averaged nearly 14,000 fans last season, but 16,247 showed up with the Warriors in town.

Oklahoma City Thunder (Friday, March 18) – Spend the day after St. Patrick’s Day watching Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder in Philadelphia. Durant’s healthy. Oklahoma City will be very good. That’s nice for the fans, but not so much for the 76ers.

Milwaukee Bucks (Sunday, April 10) – Philadelphia ends their home schedule against former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams scored 30 the last time he faced his former team. No matter where Milwaukee is in the standings, look for the Bucks to let Carter-Williams put up big numbers again.