Originally created 11/09/99

Philadelphia's home opener backfires



PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia 76ers' home opener against Seattle was delayed twice for nearly a half hour Monday night due to smoke and debris from fireworks.

The game, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., didn't get under way until nearly 7:20 after a brief tribute to the late Wilt Chamberlain and a stirring rendition of the national anthem by Teddy Pendergrass. It was followed by a gaudy display of pyrotechnics, including a blowtorch. One might say it backfired.

The game was stopped after only 46 seconds and one basket because the players were sliding on the dusty debris. Referee Bill Kennedy rubbed his eyes as he called for time. Coaches and players congregated at the scorer's table, then retreated to their benches while courtside attendants swabbed the decks with brooms and towels.

Pregame ceremonies were marred by a power shortage to the jumbotron that hangs above center court, cutting short Chamberlain's tribute. While attendants swept the floor, the game clock started running.

Play finally resumed after a 10-minute delay, making the total delay 30 minutes.