NBA

20 Reasons The 76ers Are The Biggest Chokers In NBA Playoff History

Darren - May 16, 2023
NBA

20 Reasons The 76ers Are The Biggest Chokers In NBA Playoff History

Darren - May 16, 2023

The Spun

Killer Instinct

The Sixers lacked the killer instinct to finish the job against the Celtics in 2023. This is a trend that has happened too many times in recent years with the franchise. James Harden defended the team’s crushing loss by saying that this is the first year of their project. But that’s misleading because he’s only talking about when he joined the franchise.

The New York Times

“I just want to have a chance to compete, I mean, we’re only one year in,” Harden said (via SBNation). “We played against the team who’s been together for quite a few years now. They were in The Finals last year, so you kind of know what it takes to get back there.” Unfortunately, fans aren’t as happy to write off the Ben Simmons years as Harden is.

NBC Sports

The Real MVP?

Embiid won the MVP Award in 2023 after a stellar regular season. The Cameroonian fought off Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo as he won the prize for the first time. But he proved that it means nothing during the business end of the year. He had a horrible game seven against Boston and played like garbage for the playoff chokers.

NBC Sports

The Celtics arguably had the best roster in the playoffs but the Sixers had a meltdown. A compromised Embiid put up 15 points in the series-defining game as he failed to deliver. Broadcaster Spike Eskin tweeted: “Just an awful, awful, awful performance from Embiid. To be honest, I half expect it from Harden, but for Joel to go out like this is a complete embarrassment.”

Mitchell Layton

Broken Identity

Earlier in 2023, George Niang spoke about the team’s togetherness and defensive solidity. He claimed that their coaching had helped them achieve a sense of defensive solidity. This also gave them their identity as they remained resolute against tough opponents. That makes their postseason meltdown a travesty.

AP

Niang told NBC Sports: “I think we’ve been top 10 for most of the year, right? That’s what they say; I’m not looking up defensive numbers, trust me. But I think it is a good emphasis. It helps us have an identity, that we’re not letting people go middle and we’re sending them to help, and getting in rotation after that. So I think that’s been huge for us.”

Sporting News

Too Soft

In 2019, Ben Simmons attracted negative headlines after he called the Sixers soft on two occasions. Some fans and teammates thought that he was talking garbage but maybe their former player had a point. The 76ers spent more time complaining about Marcus Smart’s dirty tactics than stamping their authority on the series.

Sky Sports

Smart threw his body into Philly players’ legs and risked injuring them. This is unethical on the hardwood but nobody in Boston will care about it. He rattled the Sixers and they didn’t respond well. The Sixers don’t have an enforcer like Draymond Green on their roster and they paid the price (via NBC Sports).

Marca

Backward Step

Many fans called for Doc Rivers’ head after the game. They couldn’t understand how their team collapsed against the Celtics with everything at stake. Rivals were calling them the biggest chokers in NBA history after the embarrassing defeat. Rivers tried to explain what went wrong but he found it difficult to explain.

Bleacher Report

The head coach reflected on the defeat in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer. He said: “We played great all year and this loss diminishes what we did this year in some way. I think this team is headed right, I thought we took another step this season. And then tonight I think we took a step backward. But that’s OK. That happens too.”

NBC Sports

Can’t Win Alone

There were many questions about Embiid’s availability ahead of game six. He carried an LCL knee sprain through the playoffs and it appeared to inhibit him. Some people think that he shouldn’t have played but he was still the Sixers’ highest-scorer in the defeat. But the playoff chokers were overdependent on their MVP winner because they didn’t support him.

AP

Embiid opened up after the humiliating defeat and told the world what he thought (via NESN). He said: “Can’t win alone. I can’t win alone. Me and James, we just can’t win alone. That’s why basketball is played five-on-five. So we just need everybody to keep finding ways to get better and we’ll be fine.”

Sportscasting

Fans Deserve Better

Everybody knows that the City of Brotherly Love has some of the most passionate sports fans in the nation. Yes, sometimes they go too far but they care about their teams with devotion. But spare a thought for the NBA lovers because the 76ers aren’t living up to the achievements of the city’s other franchises.

Philadelphia Inquirer

The Eagles have played in three Super Bowls since the Sixers last made the Eastern Conference Finals. The Phillies had three World Series appearances while the Flyers made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Meanwhile, the Union won the MLS Cup and they didn’t even exist in 2001. That’s before we even talk about Villanova and all of its success (via Philly Voice).

Yahoo Sports

Playoff Chokers

The Sixers are notorious playoff chokers but it doesn’t help that their coach also has a horrible record. Rivers infamously suffered a shocking Finals loss during his time in Boston. A glance at his playoff record proves that nobody can trust him to deliver when it counts because it’s not good.

Sports Illustrated

Yes, he won a ring in 2008 with Boston, ironically enough, but this was an anomaly. He has blown nine playoff series leads since then as he became the butt of many jokes. The Sixers can’t rely on Rivers to get them out of their postseason malaise because he can’t do it. They’re in danger of wasting a generation of talent because of a culture problem (via Clutchpoints).

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