This is one of the most memorable performances of the NBA playoffs in the 1990’s. Enjoy!
This year for the Philadelphia 76ers has been a roller coaster of sorts.
After starting the year 3-13, the Sixers finished the season 38-28, landing at 41-41 a .500 record. After taking Ohio State swingman Evan Turner number two overall in last years draft, Turner’s minutes and production was typical of a rookie finding his footing in the league, inconsistent. Second year point guard Jrue Holiday made strides similar to his improving play last year. New head coach, and former Sixer, Doug Collins preached effort and hope.
The roller coaster ended last night as the Miami Heat and their “Big Three” disposed of the Sixers in their first round series. Looking at the surface a 4-1 series win seems pretty dominant. That was not the case. The Sixers collective effort kept them in 4 of the five games. Looking at the rosters, the Heat should have steamrolled the young, inexperienced team.
The Sixers have seemed to take on the Philadelphia tough-guy mantra. Much in the vein of fictional boxer Rocky Balboa, these Sixers are easy to count out or overlook, but they pack a pretty solid punch. Starting small forward Andre Igoudala played through a knee injury while holding the defensive assignment of either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, two of the top 3 players in the NBA.
But the Sixers have reason to take encouragement from this season:
Evan Turner played big in the game 4 win, scoring 17 points and standing his ground against James when assigned to the superstar.
Jrue Holiday showed major poise. The 20 year-old Holiday, doesn’t have much post-season experience. This was his first NBA playoff experience and during his lone season at UCLA he was a reserve behind Pacers point guard Darren Collison. Holiday averaged 14 points, 5.6 assists and only 2.2 turnovers per game, this against a defense that boasts both James and Wade and was a top 10 defense during the regular season.
Ultimately, the Miami Heat had an advantage in the series with the Sixers, but the fight shown by the young and promisiing Sixers is a point that shouldn’t be lost on viewers and importantly Sixer fans.
On the surface, this looks like another mediocre season produced by the Sixers who haven’t been to the NBA finals since the 2000-2001 season lead by NBA MVP Allen Iverson, but there is a big difference.
This team is young, talented and hungry. Seeing themselves matched up with the Heat should drive these players to improve. The potential is there, now its time for the Sixers to show the fans that they are ready to make that next step.