Ahead of schedule

Some might be disappointed that the Sixers season has come to a close. After taking a two games to one advantage over the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, including Game One on the road, talk of a possible upset started brewing around the Delaware Valley. It stemmed from their 95-75 Game Three victory at home. Was this young Sixers team too quick for the aging Pistons, who have made five straight trips to the Eastern Conference finals? Did the Pistons overlook the Sixers as a serious threat?
In the end, the veteran Detroit squad proved to be better team, stepping up their game in the second half of Game Four, and took complete control of the series. The final nail on the 2007-08 season came in the Sixers 100-77 loss in front of 14,000-plus fans at the Wachovia Center.
But it was the standing ovation by the remaining fans in attendance that told the true story. Nobody expected this Philadelphia team to make the playoffs. The 40 regular season wins combined with two playoff victories also came as a surprise. After all, this was the first full season without Allen Iverson on the roster. His Denver Nuggets were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Getting that post season experience will pay huge dividends for this young Sixers squad with point guard Andre Miller being the lone starter over 30, 32 to be exact. Now that Philadelphia has taken that giant playoff leap forward, the off-season should be dedicated to plugging in the missing pieces via free agency and trade. Add an All-Star caliber player not named Iverson, and these up-and-coming Sixers could be looking at a winning record in 2008-09.
For now, we can all agree that Philadelphia exceeded expectations.


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