Sixers Can’t Quite Pull Off The Upset On Opening Night
The Sixers are in a unique position this year compared to their past several seasons. Expectations for them are at an all-time low. Between the repeated second-round exits, the James Harden drama, and just how last season’s Celtics series ended, fans are far from optimistic coming into the season. Even without Harden, this Sixers team could still be very good, but very few predict they can hang with the Bucks or Celtics come playoff time.
But then there we were in the 4th quarter in this season opener to the Bucks. After sticking around all game, they pulled off a run to mostly spurred by Tyrese Maxey and Kelly Oubre Jr to take the lead. And for a moment, it even looked like the Sixers would take it. Sadly, it was not to be. A response by the Bucks, with some help from the refs, eventually put the Bucks back in front. But despite the final score of 118-117, it is hard to watch this game and not be at least a little impressed by this new-look Sixers team.
Were they perfect? Far from it. The first half was full of mistakes and missed shots. But then they settled down. Those shots they were missing started to fall in the second half. They survived the minutes where Damian Lillard was doing what Lillard does and made their runs when the newest Buck rested on the bench. Maxey, at least in the first game, showed he is ready to step up and be the guy.
In the end, they lost to the better team. This new Bucks team, with both Giannis and Dame, is going to be tough to beat all season long. But the Sixers almost pulled it off. Will they be able to compete with them in a 7 game series come playoff time? It is way too early to tell. On paper, you would say no. But at least for now, we can see some positive signs under new head coach Nick Nurse.
Fans won’t want to hear it, and for good reason. They have been hurt and disappointed by this team far too much in the past. So I won’t blame anyone for not being moved by moral victories. But this was a good game by the Sixers, even if they could not pull it out in the end.