In what qualifies as less-than-ideal scheduling, the 76ers and Detroit Pistons will play Games 3 and 4 of their playoff series back-to-back, on Saturday and Sunday nights, at the First Union Center.
The culprit this time isn't the NBA or the television networks. It's professional wrestling.
World Wrestling Entertainment has booked the arena for Monday night, the most logical time slot for Game 4, for Monday Night Raw, its weekly presentation on TNN.
With that in place, the only way to get the Sixers' series done on time is to play back-to-back games, as teams frequently do during the regular season.
The situation demonstrates the difficulty of scheduling playoff games at the last minute in a building as busy year-round as the First Union Center.
Officials at Comcast-Spectacor, which runs the arena, say that in booking events for the spring, they strive to leave enough dates open to accommodate the potential demands of the Sixers' and Flyers' playoff schedules.
But there is no way to know in advance how many dates will be needed, and which ones.
Game 3 is set for 7 p.m. Saturday and, like Games 1 and 2 in Auburn Hills, Mich., will be televised by Comcast SportsNet and ESPN. Game 4 will take place at 8 p.m. Sunday, with television coverage by TNT.
(edited by Alessandro on 7.5.03 0920) Alessandro "Hercules" Boondy
This is nothing. You should see the shuffling they do when the Knicks and Rangers both make it into the playoff at MSG (home also to wrestling, concerts, boxing, the circus, and numerous other events). One year they both actually made it to the championships, which must have driven some poor schmoe there to drink.
"I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about 'man on dog' with a United States Senator. It's sort of freaking me out."
Associated Press interview with Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), 04-07-2003.