It's not often that a coach comes to the defense of Philly fans. However, this is exactly what 76ers associate coach Michael Curry did on Thursday.

Curry, who took the Detroit Pistons to the playoffs in 2009, spent 11 seasons in the NBA, four of them as president of the NBA Players Association. Whenever Curry – in his second year as an assistant with the Sixers – visited here as a player or coach, it struck him that the fans were more knowledgeable and less curmudgeon and angry, as depicted by the national media.

You know the stories: booing Santa; popping Jimmy Johnson with snowballs.

"Fans here get a bad rap. Any time you visited Philly, the thing you always heard was that the Philly fans were really hard. But being here these two years I realize that Philly fans are very knowledgeable. They want to win and they want to win in the worst way."

He might be on to something. Think about it. When Eagles fans were calling for Andy Reid's firing, it was mostly because he's been here 13 years and has nothing to show for it in terms of Super Bowls. Eagles fans want Reid Gone probably because of the 11 Super Bowl victories owned by the NFC East – and it could be 12 if the Giants win at Indy this weekend – and the barren trophy case over at Novacare Complex.

"You can't fool Philly fans - you can't fool them," Curry said. "You can promote one thing and say one thing but if they don't see it they don't believe it. They believe what their eyes show them. They have to see it with their eyes. And if you show them with your play, then you will make them believers.

"They are not going to believe it just because someone writes it or that's how it should be or that's how you're projecting it to be," Curry continued. "They don't move on those things. They move on what they see and what they've seen these last two years is a team that plays together, plays extremely hard every night and plays to win."

Curry pointed out when Allen Iverson was here he played alongside a bunch of workmen players like fellow assistant Aaron McKie and George Lynch, Iverson was the only star playing alongside guys who were "just grunt guys that played extremely hard every night.

"They have been great fans for us the last two years, and I think it's because they like the fact that our guys play hard every night."