KISSIMMEE, Fla. — What’s up, folks? Where did this week go? And what happened to your beloved 76ers?
Unless they do something tonight, my trip to central Florida will conclude in a few days. Let’s just say life in the NBA bubble hasn’t been kind to the Sixers. They wanted to face the Boston Celtics. But this is one of those classic examples of being careful of what you wish for. The Celtics will look to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the squads’ opening-round playoff series tonight at The Field House.
If that happens, it will become a matter of when — not if — the Sixers are eliminated from the playoffs. That would be a sad ending for a season that began with so much hype.
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The Sixers were far from a team with a lot of fight in Game 2. They basically yelled “no mas” when it was clear in the second half that they were going to lose. Remember that emotion the Sixers coaches displayed on the bench in Game 1? Well, on Wednesday, it was quieter than being in St. Joachim’s Church for my First Communion.
It was one of those #HurryUpAndGetThisThingOverFlow type of nights.
Now, Al Horford says the Sixers are confident and ready to compete.
“For us, it’s the fight that we want to show,” he said Thursday, “and I think that we will tomorrow. We understand that our backs are against the wall.”
This is Horford’s 12th postseason. In his experience, things can change once you get your first victory in a series.
“Obviously, the Celtics are playing very well, at a very high level,” he said. “But, um, I do believe that needs to be that sense of urgency that we need to come out with to put ourselves in a position tomorrow to win the game.”
No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series. Only three series have gone to a seventh game after one team opened with a 3-0 lead.
I can’t help but think back to Brad Wanamaker’s making big shots for Roman Catholic in the mid-2000s when I covered high school sports. As a senior in 2007, the 6-foot-4 guard was The Inquirer’s Southeastern Pennsylvania player of the year.
He was and still is a Philly guy through and through. Now, the 31-year-old Celtics reserve is determined to hand the Sixers a first-round exit.
Wanamaker acknowledged Thursday that this series has special meaning for him.
“Obviously, I grew up a Sixers fans,” he said. “I got my family and friends back home that’s borderline Celtics and Sixers fans. So you know, after the game, before the game, there’s a lot of trash talking going on.”
Wanamaker stressed that it’s all in fun. He knows the trash talking comes from a good place.
“But it’s pretty cool to battle against [the Sixers],” Wanamaker said, “and be able talk trash right now.”
Today: Celtics vs. Sixers at The Field House, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Sunday: Celtics vs. Sixers at The Field House, 1 p.m., ABC
*Tuesday: Sixers vs. Celtics at TBD, TBD
*Aug. 27: Celtics vs. Sixers at TBD, ESPN
*Aug. 29: Sixers vs. Boston at TBD, TNT
Send questions by email or on Twitter (@PompeyOnSixers)
Question: Was the lack of effort and simple “want-to” as evident in the gym as it was to us at home? — @Tommy_T_256 on Twitter
Answer: What’s up, Tommy? I hope you are well. Yes, it was just as evident in the gym as it was to y’all watching from home. It appears that they began losing their fight in the second quarter when things started to unravel, and it was completely gone in the second half. Brown tried to downplay it in the postgame. But his team totally checked out.