The Philadelphia 76ers were specifically playing the Golden State Warriors on March 2 because of Wilt Chamberlain’s 50th anniversary of the day he scored a record-breaking 100 points. The concept of scoring 100 points was already a huge talking point in Philly, especially since the Sixers as a team haven’t scored that much often this season.
As such, on this 50th anniversary between Chamberlain’s two old franchises, the Sixers finally paid a fitting homage to the city’s first basketball legend. For the first time in several weeks, the Sixers scored 100 points of their own and took a 105-83 victory over Golden State to boot.
The Sixers had precedent lighting on the Warriors, scoring 107 against them on New Years Eve. Of course, Philadelphia had a healthier offense back then and had a habit of winning. Going into the rematch, the Sixers badly needed offense and wins, especially off a cold night of shooting cost them a win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 29.
The Sixers offense delivered early and actually scored 50 points by halftime, but Golden State was hanging around and only down by three points. It would have been bitterly ironic if the Sixers had scored 100 points but their defense would have let them down for once and cough up another victory. However, the Warriors could not keep up in the second half, as they were held to 18 points in each of the last two quarters.
Four of the five Sixers starters scored in double-figures, while Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young combined for 41 points off the bench. By the end, the only measure of suspense was Philadelphia’s race to 100 and when it was over, the team actually scored five more points than Chamberlain did 50 years ago.
The 2012 Sixers are the ultimate example of how things are too different in today’s NBA for anyone to match Chamberlain. If a first place team could go over a month without getting 100 points, there is no way that an individual will ever do it again. Philadelphia itself scored almost 170 points on Mar. 2, 1962, but 50 years later, a mere 105 points is a great relief.
Defense has won the day for this year’s Sixers club, although that hasn’t quite been enough in the last few weeks. Now that Philadelphia remembers what it is like to light up the scoreboard, maybe it will start doing it on more occasions than special anniversary games. Pulling it off again when the Chicago Bulls visit on March 4th is probably a better way to restart the habit.