Tuesday, April 22, 2008

These Sixers shouldn't shock anybody

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

When Jesse Ventura won the Minnesota governorship in 1998, he shocked the world.

When Chinese cyber terrorists took down CNN for two minutes and some "other major news sites" for 48 hours it shocked an office building in Hatboro.

But, when the Sixers beat the mighty Detroit Pistons in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals...It was just a nice surprise.

Point being, I wasn't buying Marc Zumhoff's over the top, obviously rehearsed "Sixers have shocked the world" call after the locals stunned the haughty Pistons.

Doesn't mean I can't be excited.

Conventional wisdom says Philadelphia played great and Detroit didn't show up.

Of course, that conveniently ignores that fact that a large number of 76ers played poorly.

Even the game's two heroes -- Andre Miller and Reggie Evans -- were shaky in the first half.

Sure, Detroit shot just 39 percent from the field and Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton -- two superior free throw shooters -- combined to miss four freebies down the stretch.

Sure, Billups, Hamilton, Antonio McDyess and noted Sixer-killer Tayshaun Prince came up small on the offensive end.

And sure, Rasheed Wallace missed a bunny in the final seconds but what about the Sixers?

Andre Iguodala looked spooked in his first playoff action since his rookie season and combined with Samuel Dalembert and Lou Williams to make a combined 10-for-37 from the floor.

Evans, the game's best rebounds-per-minute guy since 2004-05, and Thaddeus Young let Jason Maxiell look like Dwight Howard on the offensive boards early.

And, the Sixers missed at least five Wallace-like bunnies in the first half.

Point being, Philly was not exactly a bunch of world-beaters and still managed to beat the overrated and overconfident Pistons.

Now if Iguodala shows up and Miller is more consistent in Game 2, a loose Sixers team has a chance to beat a listless Pistons club that seems to think playoff success is a birthright.

And it shouldn't "shock" anybody.

-You can reach John McMullen at jmcmullen@phanaticmag.com

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