At the beginning of December, I highly doubt that any fan of the NBA would have predicted that the Philadelphia 76ers and the San Antonio Spurs would be sitting in the same exact position on Wednesday, April 27, 2011.
16 games into the season, the Spurs’ record was 14-2 and the Sixers were 3-13. At this point, the redundancy of the NBA seemed to be in full effect. Oh, how things have changed.
Sure, San Antonio finished the season with 20 more wins than the 76ers at 61-21, but regular season records are washed away once the playoffs begin. Philadelphia is a group of young, athletic students of the game, in the midst of a learning experience against the bad guys, also known as the Miami Heat. On the other side of the fence, The Memphis Grizzlies, who are young as well, are matched up against the west’s elite.
Four games into each series, who would have thought that the Sixers and the Spurs would have something in common. A veteran team, with championships and playoff experience in their back pocket are down two games to the Grizzlies, while the Sixers are down two games as well.
The window for the Spurs is closing, while a door is opening for the 76ers and their bevy of fledgling talent. They could learn a thing or two from the Memphis Grizzlies; play with heart, determination and disregard the opposition’s reputation. During the playoffs, you’re born again. You’re given the chance to build a new reputation.
Although the Sixers are down in the series three games to one, it must be said that in two of their three losses, they lead by double digits at one point in each game. So, expanding on that statistic, including their win on Sunday, they’ve been ahead of the Heat by double digits in three of their four games in the first round.
The Sixers are young, and experience can’t be taught; neither can heart. Over time, the combination of knowledge and determination can potentially put this team over the top. Who knows; they could finish a season with 61 wins sooner than you think.