When the back-to-back NBA Champions, the Miami Heat, saw the Philadelphia 76ers on the schedule as the champs’ second game of the 2013-14 season, the Heat almost surely had to prematurely mark down a W. After all, the Heat are still the Heat and the Sixers are putting forth one of the most blatant tanking efforts in recent memory.
However, the Sixers, in their debut for the season, came out swinging and caught Miami by surprise. The Heat got down big early in the first quarter, mounted a massive comeback, but ultimately fell to Philly in a high-scoring affair that ended with a count of 114-110.
The major takeaway from the game was the unreal debut of Sixers’ rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams. Playing 36 minutes in his first NBA game, MCW finished the game with a near quadruple-double with 22 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds and an absurd nine steals. Moreover, Carter-Williams shot a solid 6-10 from the floor, 4-6 from three and 6-8 from the line and only committed one turnover in the contest.
For the Heat, though, this shouldn’t raise any major concern or illicit any kind of overreaction. Dwyane Wade was sitting out the second game of a back-to-back, having played last night, to rest his still troubling knee issues, which is obviously a detriment to Miami. Moreover, it’s not every night that you’re going to go up against a team that has a player in the kind of zone that Carter-Williams was on Wednesday night. That was about as close to a once-in-a-lifetime performance as you’re going to see.
The Heat may be 1-1 now and this loss will certainly get people talking, but there are no alarms that should be sounded quite yet. Until the Heat start dropping easily winnable games against bad teams when the defending champs are at full-strength, there’s no reason to worry about LeBron James and company.