Well. That just happened. I am sure no one reading this expected the Philadelphia 76ers (1-0) to defeat the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat. Everyone expected the Sixers to be the worst team in the league this year, and thought they were intentionally blowing the season for this year’s upcoming draft, where they could possibly have two lottery picks. Maybe Sixers GM Sam Hinkie had another idea in mind. Rookie Michael Carter-Williams was the best player on the court, outplaying and outclassing MVP Lebron James.
Keys to the Victory:
The Sixers just simply out hustled and out muscled the Heat tonight. It was clear that Philly had something to prove, and they bettered the Miami Heat in almost every category. Most of the success was thanks to rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams. With 22 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists, and 9 steals, he gave the Miami Heat a problem. Standing at 6’6″, Carter-Williams’ long arms make it difficult for LeBron James, Mario Chalmers and company to run their offense. Overall, the Heat had 19 turnovers.
The Sixers did what they pride themselves on, and that is getting out in transition. Scoring 26 fast break points, the Sixers doubled the Heat’s in points in transition and controlled the tempo of the game. Former Sixer Jrue Holiday used to thrive on the fast-break but it looks as though they have found the replacement we all hoped MCW would be. Not only was Carter-Williams contributing, but surprisingly Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner stepped into bigger roles. Maybe this is what Evan Turner has been waiting for: an opportunity to prove his 2nd overall pick value.
There is no doubt that 1st year head coach Brett Brown played a massive role in this victory tonight. He motivated the players and you could see the passion on the floor. He was assistant coach to Spurs head coach Greg Popovich, and I believe he has some very valuable knowledge for these young kids. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much to work with because at one point, Tony Wroten and Daniel Orton where on the floor at the same time against Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen. That said, his defensive-mindedness and willingness to work with what he’s got (getting out in transition given the skill set of his players) is encouraging to say the least.
This was a phenomenal victory for the 76ers and it proved that you can’t rule them out so easily. Yes it could of been a fluke, but we have to keep faith. Some of us may have been disappointed that the Sixers won tonight because many thought we were going “Winless for Wiggins.” However, this was an immense victory that will sure boost the players morale.