Either version is valid.
The second version is correct.
It is tempting to diminish the accomplishments of this edition of the 76ers. Tempting, but wrong.
As wrong as it was to diminish what the Phillies did in 2008.
As wrong as it was to diminish the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2010.
Both of those teams had their way paved by forces beyond their control. Both used those playoff runs to educate a core of young players who have carried them to significance since.
There is no reason to expect less from the Sixers. But less will be expected.
In this moment, in the afterglow, a laudatory chorus universally praises how the Sixers won three straight road games to snag the eighth seed. It applauds how they dispatched the Bulls in six games. It commends how they hung in there against the Celtics' aged excellence.
So, why bring it up?
Why defend what needs no defense at the moment?
Because defense will be needed, sooner than later.
As the Sixers decide if they should trade Andre Iguodala, and amnesty Elton Brand for salary-cap space, and if they should pursue re-signing free agents Lou Williams and Spencer Hawes, what this combination of players actually accomplished will be harshly examined.
And, as the Sixers recreate themselves this offseason, time and again the argument will surface that the Sixers did little this season except ruin a chance at a lottery pick.
The Sixers didn't ask for Derrick Rose to shred a knee in Game 1. They didn't wish that Joakim Noah would roll an ankle in Game 2. They just won the series.
The Sixers didn't ask for Paul Pierce to sprain a knee in the first round against Atlanta. They didn't wish for starting guard Avery Bradley to ruin his shoulders, and for Ray Allen's ankles to swell to the size of his calves. They just won three games.
Against Chicago, they handled Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng and Rip Hamilton, with five All-Star nods among them. That's three more All-Star appearances than the Sixers.
Against Boston, they devised a plan to best minimize the damage from Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo (37 All-Star appearances). The plan nearly worked.
They won this postseason thanks to scheme and commitment and effort.
Doug Collins and his staff parsed every possible advantage.
Iguodala and Jrue Holiday implemented the plans without reservation.
Brand and Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young left little pieces of themselves all over the United Center, TD Garden and, of course, the Wells Fargo Center.
And remember: Brand was hurt for the last 11 games, and Iguodala played with chronic knee and Achilles' issues.
Their effort was supreme; the result, sublime.
Suggestion to the contrary must come from a drinker whose glass is never half full.
Collins, a thoughtful and candid sort, tends to show a fake smile when he is angered. He smiled like a wolf when he addressed the subject of his team's performance being graded on any kind of curve.
"I don't buy that. Tell me Paul Pierce was diminished? I ain't buyin' that," Collins said.
The Ray Allen they faced had hit just three of his last 19 three-point attempts before he canned two late in Game 7. So what, said Collins:
"He hit two threes to help win the game. I don't buy that."
What about the Bulls?
"Yeah, they lost guys. That happens," Collins said.
What his club did in May is special.
"Absolutely. We won seven games."
There is no need to punish the Sixers for playing the hand they were dealt.
"There's forces we don't control," Iguodala said. "All we can control is our situation. We did the very best we could. Things happen for a reason.
"We didn't take anyone for granted. We went out and played hard."
Just like the Phillies, in 2008.
They stood in second place in their division with eight games to play. They beat the Brewers, worn out by their dash to the wild-card berth. They advanced to play the Dodgers, an 84-win club that dispatched the 97-win Cubs.
The Phillies then faced the Rays, who had beaten the defending champion Red Sox, who, in the first round, had dumped the Angels, baseball's best team.
The Phillies reloaded and won the next three division titles.
The Flyers fired their coach 25 games into the 2009-10 season. They needed a shootout win in the season finale to reach the playoffs, where they dominated a disheveled Devils team. They came back after losing the first three games to beat the battered Bruins, then cruised past the Canadiens, exhausted after seven-game wins over the top-seeded Capitals and the Penguins, the best team in the second round.
The Flyers discovered the makings of a contender for the next 5 years.
The Sixers are in the same spot.
"That," said Iguodala, "is the plan."
Contact Marcus Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org