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Boston-Miami Eastern Conference Finals a Nightmare Scenario for Sixers Fans

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

In Friday night’s Game 7, the Boston Celtics defeated the defending champion Toronto Raptors, 92-87, concluding what was an extremely competitive and entertaining Eastern Conference Semifinal series. Next, Boston will face the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday, another series that should be must-see TV for the impartial basketball fan, but that represents a nightmare scenario for Philadelphia 76ers fans.

Both Boston and Miami have reached their current level of success on the backbone of getting the vastly better end of trades with the Sixers. The Celtics’ deal with Philadelphia just prior to the 2017 NBA draft will go down as a major turning point in the league’s trajectory. The Sixers traded up two picks to select Markelle Fultz, who battled through injuries and a Memento-level case of amnesia in regard to shooting before being shipped to Orlando for a minimal return two years later.

Meanwhile, the Celtics still grabbed their target, Jayson Tatum, one of the rising stars in the league who just made his first All-Star team and sports averages of 25.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists this postseason. Still just 22 years old, Tatum looks poised to harass the Sixers at every turn for the next decade. The specter of the Colangelo era and all the destruction it wrought will hang over the Sixers franchise until the time when we’re watching games via brain link implants.

As for the Heat, they have undergone a remarkable turnaround in overall ceiling and forward projection since last summer:

The skeleton key for Miami to escape its salary cap prison was the team’s sign-and-trade deal last summer with Philadelphia. Butler gave the Heat the star and playoff shot-maker they needed to lead their impressive collection of supporting role players, when they had no other avenue to secure one. I hate to knock Elton Brand too much for that deal, because getting Josh Richardson was objectively a solid move when Jimmy was free to head to one of the LA teams or somewhere else with cap space with the Sixers receiving nothing in return. Still, to some degree, the situation speaks to the difference between the “Heat culture” that has allowed Butler to flourish and whatever you want to call the dysfunction in Philadelphia that drove him away.

Now, Sixers fans find themselves in a real Sophie’s choice as to who to root for to come out of the East. Rooting for the hated rival Celtics to succeed seems like an impossible task for many, and plenty of Philadelphians enjoy the idea of Butler further demonstrating the ineptitude of this Sixers organization. After all, it was just 16 months ago that Jimmy had the entire Wells Fargo Center chanting his name. However, every game Butler and the Heat win in the playoffs twists the knife a little deeper in the gut of Sixers fans wondering what could have been for the “Run It Back” Sixers.


Who are you rooting for to come out of the East?

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