PHILADELPHIA - There's something to be said for finding peace inside an NBA arena.
I've felt like the league needs to tone down its ear-blasting act for some time, and I'm convinced that I'll eventually lose a good amount of my hearing because of the incessant music and unhealthy decibel levels around the league. But peace is one thing. Solitude is another.
It's almost lonely inside this Wachovia Center, where the Sixers entered tonight's game ranked 29th in the league in attendance by averaging 12,224 per game. The unique element, though, is that this arena can hold 21,600 fans, creating a major cavernous effect considering the place seems about 30 percent full. The Kings, by comparison, entered play ranked 26th (13,503) in home attendance at Arco Arena (capacity 17,317). But in terms of atmosphere and excitement, it's not even close.
The silence is deafening. You can actually heard the sound of sneakers on the hardwood, even from my press row seat (where I have no one sitting on either side of me) that is a bit farther back than normal and in the corner as opposed to halfcourt. You can hear the individual comments from fans, too.
"You will not make that shot!" one guy just yelled to Brad Miller as he took a free throw early in the first quarter.
Just before the quarter ended with the Kings down 28-24, Mikki Moore screamed as he dunked and the folks up near the ceiling could probably hear it.
There are signs on both sides of the top row that must be at least 200 feet in length, both of them reading "Welcome to Comcast Country." That's just about right, since apparently everyone in Philly watches these games on TV rather than actually come.
UPDATE: I've heard of snoozer games, but are you kidding me? Someone is asleep on press row. I repeat (and I'm not exaggerating in the slightest), a member of the media is completely asleep. Arms crossed, head back, mouth so wide open Kyle Korver could probably bury a three in his throat from the floor! Priceless.
There was a hilarious case of mistaken identity before the game, and I was the one making the mistake. And while I swore Jerry Reynolds to secrecy, I figured I'd poke fun at myself anyway.
So I walked by Philly native John Salmons chatting on the bench with a player I thought was Philadelphia forward Louis Amundson. I should know Amundson's look, having covered him when he was in Kings training camp last season. Nonetheless, I glanced at the Sixers player and then sat next to Reynolds on the bench and said, "Is it just me, or did Louis Amundson get some plastic surgery done?" Admittedly, I wasn't really kidding.
Before Reynolds could correct me, I finally caught up. Ah, yes, it's Amundson's long-lost twin, Kyle Korver. Wow.
For the record, Amundson is on the top and Korver below...
WEBBER IN SAC
Former Kings forward Chris Webber will be at his Center Court restaurant in Natomas on Saturday for a charity holiday event.
Webber, who remains a free agent, will be collecting new and unwrapped presents for the Sacramento Children's Home at 3 pm for those who want to stop by. And while that's the only day Webber will be there, you can drop off toys or items until Dec. 23.
- Sam Amick