But what happens 10 games in (and if you think it'll take longer than that, you're fooling yourself) when Spencer Hawes is taking 25 shots a game and the Sixers are dead last in the league in offensive efficiency? What happens when the diehard can suffer no more? What happens when hope stops looking that bright when we're brought face-to-face, to real, visceral contact with what these Sixers will be? When we're tested as Job was?
How, then, shall we comport ourselves? - Mike Baumann, October 29th, 2013. Liberty Ballers
Team: Your 2013-2014 Sixers (the first three games)
Title Reign: October 30th - November 4th
Semi-Believable Dialogue from November 2013:
"Can the Sixers win the championship and get Wiggins?"
The Sixers 3-0 start was the most fascinating, unexpected, mind-blowing, incredible week in 76ers history. Nay, the sport's history. NAY, the history of the universe. The Sixers didn't just "shock the world." They stood on top of the moon, arriving there by way of a Matt Stairs home run, and announced to the entire galaxy that Michael Carter-Williams is their new overlord. Point God, as the saying goes.
Michael Carter-Williams' EPIC Debut (via NBA)
For one week, it was all Sixers all the time. Beetlemania? Bundymania? No, no. Sixersmania. Even my wife knew they were undefeated, which is the ultimate litmus test for a viral sports story.
"I saw on Facebook that the Sixers haven't lost yet. You hear about this?"
I drove home from South Bend, IN the morning after they beat the Bulls, and read every comment on the LB game thread, and the reaction thread, and the recap. Every comment. You guys got me through Ohio. I threw up three times, because I get car sick while reading in the car, but I powered through because, well, Sixers. The Sixers, our Sixers, a team expected by some to be the worst professional basketball team of all-time, was undefeated.
Future plans could wait.
Game 1: October 30th, 2013. Sixers: 114 Heat: 100
Sixers just beat the Miami Heat. THE MIAMI HEAT. THE SIXERS. AND THE HEAT. BEAT EM. JUST WITH THEIR HANDS AND STUFF AND THEIR BODIES AND VARIOUS AMOUNTS OF SKILL AND FUN AND ACTIVITY.
Michael Carter-Williams had a GAME. GAME GAME GAME GAME GAME GAME.
For serious, for a second -- anyone upset that they won this game. Don't be. This was the most fun we'll have all season. They are who they are. Relish this win. It is beautiful and unique and glorious just like our Sixers. We are 1-0. We will not stay that way. - Mike Levin
The Sixers won the belt that night at the
ECW Arena Wells Fargo Center. They were the NBA *Heavyweight* Champs. There was a 24-2 run to open the game. And the belt. God, that championship belt. I miss the way it felt around my waist. I miss draping it over my shoulder while blogging. I miss people passing me on the street, saying, "Hey, champ. Looking good, champ." I miss the Excel Spreadsheet that I had saved on my desktop (Number of Days As Champ.xls).
Treasure tonight. We are the fools. Embrace our foolishness and we'll get to the end when we get to it. For now, our ragtag bunch of analyticals just beat the Miami motherflipping Heat in a game of basketball.
That's really damn cool. - Mike Levin. Sixers vs. Heat Recap
Game 2: November 1st, 2013. Sixers (c): 109 Wizards: 102
Nothing makes any sense anymore. Left is right. Up is down. And a team - the Philadelphia 76ers - that is supposed to be one of the worst squads in league history is now 2-0 after a 109-102 victory over the Washington Wizards Friday night. - Roy Burton
The Sixers, playing in their first road game, trailed by double-digits after one quarter. The champs had turned into pumpkins on November 1st. Not a bad run, all things considered. Or so we thought. Thanks to a Herculean effort from Thaddeus Young (29 points; 14-20); the Sixers outran the Wiz 109-102.
The comments section covered the gambit of Sixers fandom. The realists wanted the winning to stop. The dreamers took screen shots of the Eastern Conference standings. The jaded accepted their impending #8 seed.
The Sixers were 2-0.
Game 3: November 2, 2013. Sixers (c): 107 Bulls: 104
Man, it feels good to be wrong.
Wrong about the level of talent on the roster. Wrong about MCW's NBA prospects. Wrong about the extent of tanking about to ensue.
Michael Carter-Williams, someone that I did not rank in my top 15 draft prospects over the summer, handily outplayed former MVP Derrick Rose (who admittedly is still hobbled, but it's Derrick freaking Rose). Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes looked like cornerstones to a pretty decent NBA offense rather than long-two-launching black holes I thought them to be. And Thaddeus Young just did what he always does, just with more distance that I didn't know for sure was a good thing.
Combine all of those, along with a not-entirely-together-yet Chicago Bulls team, and the Philadelphia Tank Commanders are a once inexplicable 3-0 on the season with victories over two Eastern Conference favorites and a road victory over an oft-projected playoff team. The Sixers defeated the Bulls 107-104 in another thriller on Saturday, if you somehow didn't already know this.
You've actually probably seen the highlights of the game. The team's unexpected start is too big of a story to miss them, and you're probably too geeked out to not devour all the game coverage your brain can handle today. - Sean O'Connor
The apex. If this season was a VH1 Behind the Music special, the Bulls victory was the commercial break before the looming decline. The moment before the drugs, and the band turmoil, or in the case of the Sixers - the regression to the mean - reared its ugly head.
The Sixers haven't been three games over .500 since. They, of course, regressed and regressed hard. The Sixers lost the belt to Golden State two days later. It was a predictable outcome. The better team won. But in the recent aftermath of yet another forty point loss, remember November. Remember the opening weekend of the NBA Season. Remember the win over the Heat, and the belt that the Sixers defended so valiantly. Times were good. Times are still good.