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My Final Thoughts On The Sixers Playoff Run


The Philadelphia 76ers played 13 Playoff games in 2012, and they made it further than 25 of the 30 NBA teams. What any of that means, is anyone's guess, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Many Sixers fans found themselves in a dilemma at the end of the regular season: "Do I root for my favorite team to collapse, if only to open ownership's eyes to the lack of talent? Or do I root for my team to make the Playoffs, where an absolute massacre awaits, at the hands of the Bulls or Heat?"

I, for one, was indifferent. I honestly couldn't care either way, and the mere thought of the Sixers perpetual mediocrity made me want throw up in my mouth, swallow, and repeat. All I cared about was the upcoming off-season, and the inevitable disappointment that would certainly follow.

As the regular season neared its conclusion, the Sixers were being eviscerated by teams like the Wizards and the Raptors and the Nets – at home, on the road, you name it. However; they eventually clinched a Playoff spot, almost by default. They didn't just "limp in" – they straight got their asses handed to them from the ASG on, followed by Doug Collins dragging his despondent bunch into the Playoffs, one creepy text message at a time.

The first game of the Playoffs went as planned. The Sixers were destroyed by the one-seed Bulls and the fanbase had collectively reached rock bottom. Then, Derrick Rose got hurt, cautious optimism ensued, and the "Sixers Be Crazy" run was officially underway.

In game two – after Rose went down – the Sixers trailed the Bulls by six at halftime. Even without Rose, they seemingly had no shot against the number one seed. Then, all of a sudden, the Sixers morphed back into the team who began the season 20-9 for a quarter and out-scored the Bulls 36-14 en route to the "HOLY HELL WE HAVE A SERIES" game two victory.

The series progressed, a lot of ugly basketball was played, every Bulls player injured himself at some point, and it all came down to ... two Andre Iguodala free throws?!

With the Sixers down one, in a series-clinching game, Andre Iguodala was going to the free throw line. It was a Sixers fan's worst nightmare. Once an 82 percent free throw shooter, Iguodala's percentage has inexplicably declined over the years, to a Blake Griffinesque 61 percent. To make matters worse, Iguodala was 7-18 on "clutch" free throws this season and 33 percent in the final three minutes. Dre was an automatic miss at the stripe, especially in the "clutch". Sixers fans were just praying for one make and overtime.

In the biggest upset in the history of mankind, not only did Iguodala sink two consecutive free throws – always a rare occurrence – but he sank two consecutive free throws to win a game, and a Playoff Series! Afterwards, he credited the unlikely duo of Tony Battie and his toddler-son for his clutch free throws.

The Bulls series was the perfect combination of bizarre and awesome, and we were just getting started.

The following series versus the Celtics was up; it was down. Kevin Garnett bashed Philly fans. More ugly basketball was played, and it all came down to a game seven, decided by two Rajon Rondo jump shots? Including a 28-foot bomb?! Bizarre, to the max.

To recap the bizarreness of the Sixers Playoff run:

Now it's over, and we're back to reality. Here are my final thoughts:

I'm proud of the team. They fought, they played hard, they were unflappable. I'm happy that we found a legitimate back-up big man, in Lavoy Allen. I'm happy Andre Iguodala will leave on a high note, if he played his final game in a Sixers uniform. I'm really happy Jrue erased the doubts I had about him during the regular season. I'm happy with the national attention – on TV, twitter, blogs, etc. I'm happy that a lot of the fanbase was rejuvenated by the past month. I've been covering the Sixers for almost four years now – 24/7, 365 – and interest in the team has never been higher than it is right now. It's in the front office's hands to make the correct moves this off-season.

Speaking of, I'm not worried about the Playoff run changing the outlook of the owners. The bottom line is, this team still lacks the talent or upside of a championship contender. They're not "one piece away", nor are they anywhere near the level of the class of the NBA – Bulls, Heat or Thunder.

If the Playoff run does, indeed, prompt a series short-sighted moves, we were already doomed, long before a few Playoff wins came to fruition. I still have very little faith in Rod Thorn in company, but there is a silver lining.

I think Iguodala is a lock to be traded – a move that's needed to be made for a long time – Hawes probably won't return, and the team will have the feel of "Jrue and Evan's" next season. That's all that matters – Jrue and Evan. We need to see what we have in either, or both.

Also, I don't think Thorn will be in charge for much longer – a few years max. And I trust that whoever replaces him, will finally get this franchise going in the right direction – for good, and forever.

But the Playoff run we were just a part of, can never be taken away from us. We'll always have Iguodala's free throws. We'll always have Lavoy Allen's unconventional rise, and hopefully we look back on this last month as the official jump-start to Jrue Holiday's promising career.

Most importantly, we'll always have the year of "Sixers Be Crazy", but now it's a thing of the past. Full steam ahead on the off-season.

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