The crack in the Liberty Bell seems just a tiny bit smaller. The NBA is relevant again in Philadelphia.
The Sixers (6-2) are off to a fast start, the best since they reeled off an effortless ten in a row to start the 2000-01 season.
All Sixer fans remember that year.
I was in High School watching Eric Snow running the point, Allen Iverson running the show, and Dikembe Mutombo growling in his deep octave with every block and finger wag. That was the year they got to the Finals, the season they won the first game against the Lakers who were previously unbeaten in the playoffs. Sadly, they went on to lose the next four in a row and the series. Shaquille O’neal dominated the paint, while Kobe etched his status in stone as Kobe, the Black Mamba, the Assassin, and the superstar.
The Sixers reached the Finals despite of the supporting cast. The current team is starting hot because of it.
Five players are averaging over 12 points a contest. The teams leading scorer is Lou Williams at 16 points per game (not a typo). Iverson used to take double that many shot attempts in a single game. Their identity today is much more U2 than Bono.
The Sixers are more balanced than Jillian Michaels diet. The days of the superstar chucking it up 30 times a game are long gone. They win with “team” now, on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. If the 2000 Sixers are the 2012 version’s doppelganger, than the 2003 Detroit Pistons that won the NBA championship are this current team’s fraternal twins.
That squad won with defense, balanced scoring, and a team first mentality. There are no divas on this Sixers roster. The most recognizable member might be the mascot Hip-Hop. They win with their bench, pine deeper than the Federal Reserve.
This team is young, but selfless beyond their years. Last season, the Sixers made the playoffs and won two games against the goliath Miami Heat playing them tough.
Is it just me or can Doug Collins coach?
He has something to prove. Collins carries that ultimate chip on his shoulder having coached Jordan and Pippen, while still being ring less. His player’s have bought in and all seem to be on the same page.
They follow the playbook of passing to the open man, stingy defense, contesting shots, and cleaning the glass like Windex.
The Sixers have more flavors than Dr. Pepper these days. In the playoffs, they are going to be the team no one wants to play. Who do you focus in on defensively; Williams, Iguodala, Young, Turner, Brand? I’ll take five corvettes over one Maserati and four PT cruisers. The Sixers are the cream that has risen, while eastern conference powers of the past are falling like the winter wheat.
I foresee big things for them this season. Like their brotherly love counterpart, Rocky, maybe this is the year they can go the distance or at least one more round.