x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Philadelphia turns up as early season surprise

The Philadelphia 76ers are 3-0. Don't ask why; just enjoy it while it lasts.

Michael Carter-Williams and his Philadelphia 76ers teammates are the early surprise at the start of the NBA season. Howard Smith / USA TODAY
Michael Carter-Williams and his Philadelphia 76ers teammates are the early surprise at the start of the NBA season. Howard Smith / USA TODAY

Looking for logic? Look elsewhere. Philadelphia 76ers have opened the season with three straight wins, and it makes no sense at all. This is a team expected to be the worst in the league. Painfully young, inexpertly overhauled, who might win 15 of 82 games. Perhaps. And they have opened the season with victories over three play-off calibre teams.

They started with a 114-110 victory over the two-time champion Miami Heat, won at Washington Wizards 109-102 and then came from 18 points down in the second half to stun Chicago Bulls, 107-104.

Embrace it. Do not attempt to analyse, deconstruct or justify it. Simply enjoy.

“The unbeaten 76ers”.

Can it last? Of course not. But could the Sixers really be significantly better than any reasonably informed NBA fan imagined?

Well, get back to us on that one.

The 76ers are being led by the shooting guard Evan Turner. Inexplicably, in his fourth season, he has decided to start playing like a man chosen with the second pick in the 2010 draft. His sidekick is the rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams, a career 39.8 per cent shooter at Syracuse, who has 62 points in three games. And then there is the centre Spencer Hawes, the embodiment of “awkward”, who in his five previous seasons averaged 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Now it is 19.3 and 11.3.

A season ago, Charlotte Bobcats won seven of their first 12 but only 14 of their next 70. That could be the fate of the Sixers. Celebrate while you can, Philly fans.

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE