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Sixers improve to 3-0 with comeback win over Bulls

Nov 2, 2013, 11:45 PM EDT

Derrick Rose, Michael Carter-Williams AP

This is not at all how this was supposed to happen in Philadelphia this season. But after three games and three wins, it’s moved beyond a fluke occurrence and is now becoming a story.

The Sixers beat the Bulls 107-104 on Saturday to improve their undefeated record to 3-0 on the season. Chicago and Miami (along with the hapless Wizards) are the three teams to fall victim to the supposedly undermanned Philly squad, but the consistent level of production from four different players has the Sixers actually playing much better than the title contenders in Miami and Chicago at this very early point in the season.

For the third straight game, the Sixers came back from a sizable deficit to come away with the victory. In the opener against Miami, they gave back all of a 22-point lead before coming back from down eight in the final five minutes. Against the Wizards, they trailed by 14 points early in the second quarter. And Saturday against Chicago, the Sixers erased an 18-point third quarter lead before holding on late for the win.

Michael Carter-Williams has been a statistical monster in his rookie campaign thus far, and his team’s third straight win to start the season was no different. He finished with 26 points, 10 assists, and three steals, outplaying his counterpart in Derrick Rose completely.

Rose, to be fair, is still finding his game after missing all of last season, and was wearing black kinesio tape on his neck for the second straight game after experiencing some soreness. He finished with just 13 points, six assists and eight turnovers while struggling through a night of 4-of-14 shooting. A couple of Rose’s turnovers came on the game’s final possessions, while his Bulls still had a chance.

Spencer Hawes has been equally big for Philadelphia during this stretch, and has averaged over 19 points and 10 rebounds per game to begin the season. He also had three blocked shots in the win against Chicago, and shot 8-of-11 from the field in just over 30 minutes of action.

Evan Turner continued his strong play from the guard position, and is seemingly good for 20 points per game from there on a nightly basis. Thaddeus Young gives Philadelphia a solid inside presence defensively, while putting up numbers like the 13 points and seven rebounds he was able to tally in this one.

No one believes, of course, that Philadelphia will be able to sustain its level of success over the course of the 82 game season; the roster construction simply doesn’t hold up under close examination. But right now, we’re talking about a team that’s averaged 110 points per game through its first three of the season.

Until teams bring the level of intensity defensively that this Sixers team is bringing on both ends of the floor on a nightly basis, Philadelphia will continue to surprise the non-believers.

  1. 32magicman - Nov 2, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    Maybe some credit for the new coach?

    • belleby123 - Nov 3, 2013 at 7:07 AM

      And some discredit for the basketball pundits that said the Sixers were crap?

      • nycalldayz - Nov 3, 2013 at 9:23 AM

        That’s expected from these so-called experts, they don’t know it all. These so-called NBA experts are no more knowledgeable than your average die hard or casual fan. These sports pundits are cynical, and with social media and blogs the cynicism is worse. But I do expect the Sixers to come back down to reality at some point.

      • belleby123 - Nov 4, 2013 at 7:17 AM

        I agree on every point. Experience and talent starts to balance everything out as the season progresses.

  2. macjacmccoy - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    I actually never understood why Philly was being called one of the worse teams in years. I know they got no superstars and their bench is a disgrace, but their starters are respectable. If you have that and effort you can win in this league. I was never thinking about winning playoff series are anything like that, but a 9th or 10th seed? Yea, I always thought that that was a possibility this year. Even after the Jrue trade and before the MCW show.

    • casualcommenter - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:17 AM

      Because they traded away an All-Star caliber player in exchange for assets who will mostly help them in the future (not this year), and as you said, their bench is a disgrace.

      Teams that have no All-Stars, a promising young player who some believe will miss the entire season due to an intentional effort to tank rather than a prolonged rehab, and a poor bench generally aren’t good teams.

    • tfoz5150 - Nov 3, 2013 at 8:31 AM

      Yeah, but we were supposed to be in the hunt for the #1 pick.

  3. 00maltliquor - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:14 AM


    Man that was a great game! Wow. Is Brett Brown to Gregg Popovich what Tom Thiboduex was to Doc Rivers? Was this another diamond in the rough coach. This team was built to lose and they ain’t going down! I’m gonna pull for them the rest of the year, this is the DOGGIEST of underdogs. I must admit, I’m LOVING me some MCW. Good PGs seemingly grow from trees this decade/decade and a half, sheesh.

  4. antistratfordian - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Did anyone pick MCW for ROY?

    It might take Rose a full season for him to get back to being D.Rose.

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:26 AM

      Isn’t that typically the case with ACLs? It always seems it takes guys a year. Rubio didn’t seem right last year either.

      • detectivejimmymcnulty - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:27 AM

        Shumpert as well.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:32 AM

        Yeah, typically. Adrian Peterson probably had something to do with these new expectations.

        I also think some assumed that if he sat out a year that he’d be able to skip the re-adjustment period – but he was going to have to go through that regardless.

      • tommyshih - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:16 AM

        Rubio tore his ACL right before Rose, and averaged a double double with almost 3 steals per game in the 2nd half last year.

      • casualcommenter - Nov 3, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        That’s correct, though it’s been nearly 1.5 years since the injury for Rose so far.

    • belleby123 - Nov 3, 2013 at 7:11 AM

      Rose his fine. He just needs to get a little better focus on his game. He made some ridiculous passes/turnovers in the Sixers game. When he settles down he’ll look good. He’s still an impact player–there are only a handful of players that can take their teams to a whole other level when they’re on the court. He’s the equivalent of putting a supercharger on a car engine. If he stops making the mental errors the Bulls will really look tough.

  5. jucam1 - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    Good owner, really good GM, and great coach makes a world of difference. Doug and his 1975 way of coaching killed the spirit of this team last year and he regressed the young guys. Not to mention we had a joke of a GM and an owner who didn’t care. Now we have a modern thinking stats wiz in Hinkie drafting and making great trades, a smart coach straight out of the Pop school of coaching, and a system tailored to the players strengths. Plus, we have a ton of cap room, 2 picks in a loaded first round next year, Nerles coming back next year, and it seems we found our PG of the future. Finally we have hope and the right people to leads the organization!

    • adamsjohn714 - Nov 3, 2013 at 1:05 AM

      He drafted a guy in MCW who couldn’t shoot or stop turning the ball over in college….. I’d temper my enthusiasm.

    • zukny1 - Nov 3, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      people need to realize if we keep winning we will lose our first round pick! And the Pelicans first is no guarantee either! We could end up w/ 0 picks in 2014

  6. andyreidisfat - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    The sixers future looks real bright. Now trade Thad and turner for some 1st rounders and let’s get back to that “riggin for wiggins” deal

    • klownboy - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:58 AM

      Look, it’s early – VERY early. Let’s leave the making a big deal of three games into an NBA season to Skip Bayless and Co. We’ll see if the Sixers are competitive at the All-Star break. My money is on “NO”.

      • belleby123 - Nov 3, 2013 at 7:13 AM

        I agree totally. These guys are riding the high of just being able to play at the NBA level. The great players are able to stick this out for 82 games. Then there’s all the rest.

  7. johngalt1783 - Nov 3, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    Hawes is underrated. There are some good players in this season’s rookie class and MCW is near the top of the list. The 76ers appear to have the best chemistry that any 76ers team has had in a whilte. It’s only three games so we shall see.

  8. somekat - Nov 3, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    MCW, early favorite for ROY! lol

    in all seriousness, as much fun as it’s been to watch, they need to start losing. They CAN NOT afford to not be in the top 3 of the years draft.

  9. shetalksball - Nov 3, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Reblogged this on shetalksball and commented:
    With 79 more games to go, the Sixers are not really making any noise. They are having luck. Maybe they will be great, they are young and quick, but is that enough to last them for 79 more games?

  10. detlefschrempfriedrice - Nov 3, 2013 at 1:24 AM

    lol@temper your enthusiasm

    yep he drafted a guy that in college couldn’t shoot/turnover prone

    good thing this isn’t college…..

  11. pistolpete0903 - Nov 3, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    Let’s see how the kid goes against elite PG’s (Paul, Parker). But so far, he looks like he belongs to the NBA.
    He is listed at 6’6″. if he puts some bulk on his frame, he can be a superstar.

    • somekat - Nov 3, 2013 at 2:32 AM

      Rose and Wall are generally considered “elite” PGs

      • pistolpete0903 - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:13 AM

        Rose isn’t a anywhere close to his MVP season. He is still ginger with his playing. If MCW shows it against a back-to-normal Rose, I will eat my words.
        As for Wall, he is just an athletic PG (arguably the fastest). Still relatively raw and not particularly well running the point.

  12. 700levelvet - Nov 3, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    Break up the Sixers!!!!

  13. davidly - Nov 3, 2013 at 2:27 AM

    The Sixers have successfully defended their lineal championship* twice.

    MC-W now has two lineal championship finals MVP awards (the other belonging to Hawes.

    *my chosen obsession this season

  14. iowahbr - Nov 3, 2013 at 7:08 AM

    After last night’s 4th quarter we discover that it’s not Rose’s knee that is the problem but rather it’s him tyring to live up to his TV image. Pass the ball Derrick and stop worrying about shoe sales.

  15. jucam1 - Nov 3, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    I don’t think this team as is wins more than 28-30 games at best. What’s important to Sixer fans is to see that there is a plan now, that the coach knows what he is doing, the GM is smart and values analysis and talent, and that we’ll have cap space and good young players to make a run in a couple of years hopefully. Under Doug and DiLeo we were lost in dumb acquisitions and old school coaching. So i don’t think Sixers dans think this team is a playoff team by any means, its just good to see we are out of the dark ages and on the right path. Plus, if MC Dub is for real, then we just got a big piece for the future

  16. vegasdestroyer - Nov 3, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    It’s so nice to FINALLY have a coach who knows more than the fans and a player like MCW who plays better than the fans’ expectations.

  17. tmatic74 - Nov 3, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    We don’t need to tank if MCW is the real deal. We have two first round picks and I’m not sold on woeful for Wiggins. We are in a great place with lots of options moving forward. I said playoffs after the heat win just based off of being well coached. I see Spurs basketball watching the Sixers now. Sixers should just keep playing hard and let things play out.

  18. ninozlatino - Nov 3, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    As a Philly 4 for 4 guy sports had been Abysmal. Phillies sign 30 somethings to huge contracts that dont pan out. Flyers are outdated. still think they are the broad st. bullies. Eagles are inconsistent at best, no QB. All of a sudden the team that nobody paid attention to is the only one winning. when we want losses. oh well. ill take it. good job young bucks!!

  19. cflip376 - Nov 3, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    People need to chill, it’s only been 3 games. It won’t last this isn’t the first time where a bad team had a good start, just like how it isn’t the first were average players have good rookie season starts or good reasons all together. Ex: Drew Gooden, Tyreke Evans(Though I hope he wont turn out average).

    • cflip376 - Nov 3, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      seasons all together*

    • davidly - Nov 3, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Sounds like you need to chill.

  20. johngalt1783 - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Hawes is a monster. I would trade Valanciunas for him today without blinking. Seriouosly

  21. mungman69 - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    It’s a long season. But this team has bought in to the head coach and his teachings. It’s more fun to win.

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