Sixers vs. Magic Preview: Game 3, 1999 Playoffs (First Round)

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

May as well watch. True Detective doesn't start until nine.

The Sixers play the Orlando Magic tonight. This concludes my preview for tonight’s game.

In one of my first ever posts for this site, way back in January 2012 when I was newly engaged and living in Boston and still under the impression that AFKAMB Mike, Jordan, and Tanner were nerdy guys in their 40s (they’re nerds; just younger), I wrote about the obscure Jerald Honeycutt in the Fan Posts:

Honeycutt’s stint with the Sixers was not particularly memorable, but that team was. Game 3 of the playoff series – the Sixers first home playoff game in almost a decade – was the loudest arena I’ve ever been inside. The place was bonkers. My friend high-fived every person in the arena. Every person. It took him a while, sure, but he did it. I’m not sure if it stemmed from genuine happiness, or because, deep down, he thought maybe, just maybe, he could end up on a NBA Superstars video.

That was the greatest live sporting event of my life*. Now, I’ve attended some incredible games. I was at this year’s Eagles/Lions Snow Bowl. I’ll never forget it. I had never been to Greenland before, or since. But it was just a regular season game, and I have to deduct points for watching an entire game in wet socks.

*I wasn’t in Philly for the ’08 baseball playoffs.

A family friend played basketball for Lafayette, and I watched them outlast Bucknell 67-63 in a highly entertaining Patriot League Championship. A Lafayette player hit a 65 foot shot right before halftime. The student section at Lafayette lost their minds.

I stormed the court after the Purple Eagles of Niagara beat Rider in the MAAC Championship in 2005, snapping a 35 year NCAA Tournament drought. I lost my Phillies hat in the melee, but found it resting peacefully on the foul line fifteen minutes later. Uncle Hubie Brown looked after my hat that day. I just know it.

I watched the Sixers survive against the Celtics in Game 3 in ’03, despite Antoine Walker shimmying all over my face. And I even saw Juventud Guerrero beat Silver King at WCW Thunder back at the Spectrum with a perfectly executed Guillotine leg drop.

But none of these games (or cruiserweight matches) compared to Game 3 of the First Round of the Eastern Conference playoffs in 1999. Sixers vs. Magic. The first Sixers home playoff game in what seemed like an eternity. Recently, our own Jake Fischer had a Q & A with Marc Zumoff.

LB: You’ve been around the team for 20 years, what’s been your best memory from the experience?

MZ: My best memory has to be the team’s first playoff series win in eight years in 1998. We were playing Orlando and we split with them down there and then we came home and I think people were just realizing that Sixers basketball was back. From tip-off to buzzer, the crowd was in a frenzy. Allen Iverson had an NBA-record 10 steals. There was near fight in the game, the late Chuck Daly almost got into a fight with, among others, Matt Geiger. The Sixers ended up winning the game and I think that sort of established the fact that after being in the dark for the last seven or eight years, Sixers basketball was back.

Preach it, Marc Zumoff. Allen Iverson, whose #3 jersey was deservedly retired by the Sixers last night, had that crowd on a string that day. After blowing out Orlando and registering ten steals, Iverson could have founded a settlement in Guyana and every person in that arena would've followed. The place was ready to explode. We rained down a chorus of boos so lustily for Penny Hardaway in the game’s waning moments. Hardaway, while walking to the bench, motioned for more boos, louder boos, and the fans happily obliged.

Tip-off is at 6 PM tonight.

Opposing Jersey That I Would Buy

For all the hipsters in the audience, imagine drinking a Coors Banquet can while rocking your Scott Skiles jersey.

"Another Banquet, Scotty?"

You know it.

Orlando Pinstriped Post

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