The Philadelphia 76ers are going to be haunted by their Recreation 7 loss to the Boston Celtics within the second spherical of the 2023 NBA Playoffs for a protracted, very long time. The Sixers opened the sport robust on the street towards Boston, however choked away the lead within the second and third quarters for a humiliating 112-88 defeat by the hands of the Celtics to finish their season.
The Sixers’ two superstars allow them to down within the greatest recreation of the yr. MVP winner Joel Embiid completed with simply 15 factors on 5-of-18 capturing, whereas James Harden shot 3-for-11 for 9 factors and 7 assists within the loss. Harden has a protracted historical past of struggling in the course of the playoffs, and sadly even two monster performances on this collection received’t be sufficient to shake that fame.
Harden scored 45 factors on 30 area aim makes an attempt and hit an epic game-winner to provide the Sixers the win in Recreation 1 whereas Embiid was out with harm. He got here by means of once more in Recreation 4 with 42 factors on 23 area aim makes an attempt. The remainder of the collection for Harden was fairly brutal. He averaged solely 13.4 factors within the different 5 video games vs. the Celtics on 25.3 p.c capturing from the sphere.
After his extremely clutch Recreation 4 efficiency, Harden merely couldn’t get it finished in excessive leverage conditions the remainder of the collection. This stat is unbelievable: he didn’t rating within the fourth quarter in 32 whole minutes throughout Recreation 5, Recreation 6, and Recreation 7.
76ers followers are used to seeing their stars come up quick when it issues most within the playoffs. Earlier than it was Harden placing up goose eggs within the fourth quarter of important second spherical playoff video games, it was Ben Simmons.
Simmons has by no means been the identical since he got here up quick in Philadelphia’s 2021 playoff collection vs. the Atlanta Hawks. He famously bypassed a large open dunk in crunch-time of Recreation 7, after which was kind of thrown below the bus by Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers. Simmons was ultimately traded in a blockbuster package deal for Harden, however he’s by no means come near regaining his All-Star kind.
Philly followers nonetheless haven’t forgiven Simmons, not when he didn’t even try a shot within the fourth quarter of the final 4 video games of the collection vs. Atlanta.
Harden and Simmons had been traded for one another, and now they each one way or the other have 3+ video games of zero factors within the fourth quarter of a second spherical collection. Unreal.
The Sixers haven’t been to the convention finals since Allen Iverson led them to the NBA Finals in 2001. Philly had two possibilities to get it finished with a 3-2 collection lead, however their stars blew it. It’s a well-recognized story.