The 76ers surprising playoff run ended with an 85-75 defeat at the hands of the Celtics in game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. A glimmer of hope for more shone with about 4 minutes left when Paul Pierce fouled, but two Rajon Rondo three pointers and more bad shooting from the Sixers put it out of reach from there.
Rondo recorded his 9th career triple double with 18 points, 10 boards and 10 assists. The Sixers were led by Andre Iguodala, who also supplied 18. Overall the Sixers' issue in this game was the same it was all series, the inability to shoot. They shot just 35% from the field and 27% from three point range. The individual stats really reflect the problems. Jrue Holiday 5-17, Evan Turner 3-8, Lou Williams 2-9 & Jodie Meeks 1-4.
Overall though, you'd have to say that the Sixers far exceeded expectations in this postseason. Coming in as the 8th seed, absolutely no one would have predicted them to reach a game 7 of the quarterfinals. While they very well may have skated past the Bulls in the first round thanks to luck (injuries to Derrick Rose & Joakim Noah), but taking the Celtics to game 7 was no fluke. This Sixers team is clearly rising as that Celtics team as constructed certainly look to be on its last legs.
It was not a pretty series. Not in the least, in fact it was downright ugly and the Miami Heat certainly wouldn't have been fearing whichever team was going to emerge from it... But this run is something to be proud for this young Sixers team.Younger guys like Jrue Holiday & Lavoy Allen stepped up in big ways and Andre Iguodala was really the veteran leader he needed to be. Overall, it bodes well for the future.
This is not to say that there weren't disappointments though. For one, not beating a Celtics team that was as bad as they were in this series has to garner some regret. Lou Williams may very well have played his way out of town with a truly awful showing for the majority of this postseason. Spencer Hawes probably did the same. Elton Brand played with a ton of heart and gave it everything, but he is certainly an amnesty candidate this summer. Evan Turner continues to be half of a good NBA player. He hit one memorable shot, rebounded like crazy, but really was so awful shooting overall that the same concerns he had entering the season remain. He does seem to have carved himself a place in the starting 5 though. Thaddeus Young was also a pretty big letdown overall in this series.
Doug Collins & co have a lot of big decisions heading into this offseason.
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