The Philadelphia 76ers stumbled near the end of the regular season, lost their season-long hold on the Atlantic Division and limped into a first-round matchup against the top-seeded Chicago Bulls. The 76ers were given little chance in the series, but here they are, three games and one Derrick Rose injury later, at home for Game 4 with a 2-1 series lead.
Yes, it helps that Rose tore his ACL, and Joakim Noah's turned ankle -- if it turns out to be as bad as it looks -- would also aid Philadelphia's cause. But the Sixers are thriving as Chicago's foundation collapses, and SB Nation's Liberty Ballers sees plenty of reason to cheer Philadelphia's two consecutive wins.
The excitement goes beyond wins and losses - it's how they're winning and, more importantly, who they're winning with.
Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner - the 21 and 23 year-old backcourt mates - were supposed to be the foundation of the Sixers franchise for years to come - a core to build around. But for a multitude of reasons - inconsistent playing time, undefined roles, questionable coaching - both players failed to evolve as overall players during the 2011-12 season, which had many questioning the future of both guards.
How quickly things can change.
For the second consecutive post-season both players have taken their games to another level, and they're beginning to show what they're capable of doing as this team's starting backcourt.