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76ers owner offers 2,000 NBA playoff tickets to first responders

The tickets will be distributed to first responders, healthcare professionals and other Philly-based organizations to “harness the intensity and excitement” for the matchup

76ers Basketball

File photo of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Matt Slocum/AP

By Keith Pompey
The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — The leaders of the 76ers’ ownership group, Josh Harris, David Blitzer, and David Adelman, will join with Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin to buy and distribute more than 2,000 tickets to Sixers fans for Thursday’s Game 6 playoff matchup against the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center.

A team spokesperson said the tickets will be distributed to first responders, healthcare professionals, community groups, and other Philly-based organizations to “harness the intensity and excitement” for a crucial matchup at the South Philly arena.

The Knicks take a 3-2 series lead into the 9 p.m. game. The Sixers must win to stay alive.

The owners’ actions come after Knicks fans took over the arena in Games 3 and 4.

During those games, New York fans loudly chanted “M-V-P” when Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson was at the foul line. They also chanted “Let’s go Knicks!”

Their chants were so loud in Game 4 the in-game operation workers had to raise the volume of the music to drown them out. After the game, the fans chanted "[Expletive] Embiid,” “Knicks in five,” and “Go New York!” in the concourse. And they weren’t finished. After the game, New York fans placed a Knicks jersey on the Wilt Chamberlain statue outside the arena.

Joel Embiid didn’t appreciate that the Knicks fans turned the Wells Fargo Center into Madison Square Garden South.

“I love our fans,” Embiid said following Game 4. “I think it’s unfortunate, and I’m not calling them out, but it is disappointing. Obviously, you got a lot of Knicks fans and they’re down the road, and I’ve never seen it, and I’ve been here for 10 years. Yeah, it kind of [ticks] me off, especially because Philly is considered a sports town. They’ve always shown up, and I don’t think that should happen. Yeah. It’s not OK.”

After Tuesday’s 112-106 overtime victory in Game 5, South Carolina women’s basketball coach and North Philly native Dawn Staley urged Sixers season ticket-holders not to sell their Game 6 tickets to Knicks fans.

“I’d say we all can do better, right?” coach Nick Nurse said of Staley urging fans. “I think we deserve better. I think we need to coach better. The players are going to try to play better. I think we all can do better. We need everybody’s support, man. For sure. I think the team’s playing its guts out.”

Nurse injures finger

Nurse confirmed he injured his right index finger Tuesday night during the win at Madison Square Garden.

The Sixers coach slammed his hand in frustration on a no-call. Nurse’s finger was swollen during Wednesday’s media availability. At the time, the coach hadn’t had an X-ray to see the severity of the injury.


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