There were really no Philadelphia 76ers NBA previews this offseason. There really didn’t need to be any. The only question that NEEDED to be answered was how bad they were going to be — that’s it. Nothing personnel-wise, nothing coaching-wise. Just how bad they were going to be. No talk about being a dark horse, nothing about raising some eyebrows. Just how bad they were gong to be — how many losses they would accumulate and what draft pick they would have entering the 2014 NBA draft next summer.
But that tune quickly changed — at least a little in my eyes. If nothing else, the Sixers are a little bit better than we thought they’d be.
First, the Sixers shocked the world beating the back-2-back defending champs in their home opener 114-110. But it wasn’t just that they won, it’s how they won. Philly jumped out to a quick 19-0 lead. I had to do a double-take to make sure I wasn’t watching Duke beat up on some NCAA Division II team. No dice.
Somehow the Heat managed to open up a nine-point lead during the third quarter. Still, the Sixers fought back to top the Heatles. Yes, the same Sixers whose over-under for total wins for the season was set at 16.5 by Vegas, the lowest of any team in the league. That didn’t hold the Sixers from beating the world-beaters.
That was their season!
That was their NBA Finals!
Here is an excerpt form the Sixers Sense (the all, everything Philadelphia Sixers site on the Fansided network) postgame piece, just to further explain the significance of what Philly did in their opener. I can’t stress how big that win was enough:
I had to wait a few hours after this game finished to get this post up, my caps lock button wouldn’t turn off. I can’t believe what I witnessed tonight, the Sixers had lost their past 15 regular season contests against the Heat. HOW DID THEY PULL THIS ONE OFF?
But that was it, right? Now the TANK would be in…right?
Two days later, they did it again. They didn’t beat the world champs but they did beat a very much improved Washington Wizards team — and in comeback fashion again. Last night, it was Déjà vu. This time the Sixers came back from down 20 to beat the CHICAGO BULLS. From the Derrick Rose-led BULLS. 20 POINTS.
The Sixers are 3-0. THREE AND OH. Exactly. Who saw this coming? If you predicted this kind of start for the Sixers raise your hand. If you have your hand raised, put it down because you’re lying.
The young Sixers are 3-0. The Miami Heat are 1-2. First, let’s let that sink in. Then, let’s ask: WHAT WORLD IS THIS??
When we look back, it’s going to be fun. Even if it was just for a moment, the Sixers were good and the statistics (standings wise) backed it up.
Who knows how this season will end for the Sixers. Will they continue to be the NBA’s sweethearts and make a run to possibly, somehow qualify as an Eastern Conference playoff team? It’s unlikely, but so were their chances at beating the Heat, the Wizards and the Bulls.
I mean, I’m not going to sit here and predict that the Sixers will make the playoffs. I won’t. That’s not me. But I will sit here and concede that I was wrong — through three games of the season.
I had the Sixers at 0-3 at this point, they’re 3-0 and if the playoffs started today…okay, I won’t go that far but they’re 3-0. I think most of us were wrong on that point. But let’s call it what it is…
And it’s not that the Sixers are now contenders. They’re not. But what they are is maybe, probably better than what we thought they’d be. I’m not ashamed to say that.
So to Sixers fans, I’m sorry. In response, I think the guys over at Sixers Sense say it best…
No TANK you, not for the Sixers. Not now, at least.