Game 7 is great and all, it just hasn’t been that great to the Sixers.
The franchise has lost 10 of its 16 Game 7s, including the last two. Kawhi Leonard’s Maple Leaf Magic in 2019 was a particularly cruel dagger.
But it’s not all bad. The Sixers have won their last four at home, the most recent being when Allen Iverson won a pair of Game 7s on the way to the NBA Finals in 2001. The two loudest times I’ve ever heard the Wells Fargo Center (for sporting events, that is) was when the Sixers beat the Bucks that year (Iverson had 44) and when the Flyers beat Tampa Bay in Game 6 in 2004, when Simon Gagne scored in overtime.
But back to the Sixers. Here are some fun facts and figures related to Game 7:
This will be just the third Sixers’ Game 7 since the 2001 run to the Finals, which isn’t surprising since they missed the playoffs about half the time in that span. The loss to Leonard and the Raptors, when he bounce, bounce, bounce, bounced in the game-winner at the buzzer is the only ultimate game Joel Embiid has played.
Embiid had 21 points and 11 rebounds in 45 minutes that day. He cried, like many Sixers’ fans, cried after Leonard’s buzzer-beater.
It also was the only Game 7 for Tobias Harris (15 points, 10 rebounds). Ben Simmons (13 points) made 5 of his 6 free throws. So yeah, once upon a time, he was able to shoot ‘em.
Seth Curry played in a Game 7 when he was in Portland (on the same day as the Sixers-Raptors, in fact). He didn’t score in 16 minutes, but the Blazers won. Veteran reserve George Hill is 4-2 in Game 7s with three different teams, Dwight Howard is 2-0. Danny Green, out with a calf strain, is 2-2.
Clint Capela is 1-1 in Game 7, both appearances from when he was with Houston. In 2018, the Rockets lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference finals, which means Capela has the dubious chance to lose to both Steph and Seth Curry in a Game 7.
Danilo Gallinari is 0-2. Lou Williams, whose first Game 7 was nine years ago when his Sixers lost to Boston, is 0-3 in Game 7. He scored exactly seven points in two of those games, and was shut out in the other.
Doc Rivers is 6-7. He needed to win Game 7s in each of the first two rounds when he took the Celtics to the 2008 championship, and lost Game 7 of the Finals the following year to Kobe Bryant (5-1 in Game 7s) and the Lakers. His loss to the Nuggets last year in the bubble completed Denver’s comeback from a 3-1 series deficit and ultimately led to the Clippers firing Rivers.
Rivers played in 81 postseason contests, but just one Game 7 -- and it was a memorable one. Doc had 16 points and 18 assists before fouling out of Atlanta’s two-point loss to the Celtics in 1988. Dominique Wilkins had 47 that afternoon.
Atlanta’s Nate McMillan has been an NBA coach for 17 seasons, but this will be just his second Game 7. His Pacers lost to the Cavaliers in the 2018 first round when LeBron James cooked ‘em for 45. McMillan was 2-1 as a player, all with Seattle.
Sixers and Hawks
Aside from the three contests the franchise played while in Syracuse, the Sixers are 5-8 in Game 7. The Hawks are 4-9 overall, 2-4 since moving to Atlanta from St. Louis. This will be these franchises first meeting in a Game 7, and Atlanta’s first G7 since 2014. Trae Young was a freshman in high school. ... The Sixers have never had a Game 7 go to overtime. The Hawks did once, losing in double overtime to the Celtics in 1957.
Iverson’s 44 is a team record for points in a Game 7, breaking the record Archie Clark set in 1971. Now that’s a trivia question. ... Iverson had just 21 points in a Game 7 win over Toronto in 2001, but set the team record with 16 assists. ... The Sixers’ win over the Celtics in 1982 averted a 3-1 series collapse and cemented Andrew Toney’s reputation as “The Boston Strangler.” He had 34 that afternoon. ... The convincing victory in Boston also inspired Celtics fans to chant “Beat L.A.” so that the NBA title could stay in the Eastern Conference. They also hated Magic Johnson and the Lakers, who beat the Sixers in the ‘82 Finals, anyhow. It’s the only Game 7 road win in franchise history (1-9).
Did you know?
Kawhi Leonard’s 41 points in 2019 are the most by a Sixers opponent in a Game 7. It broke the mark of 37 set by Boston Hall of Famer Sam Jones in 1965. ... Jones (1963) and Dominique Wilkins (1988) share the NBA record for most points in a Game 7 with 47. Jones won his game. Wilkins did not. ... Elgin Baylor (1961), Wilt Chamberlain (1964), and Elvin Hayes (1979) share the record for most points by a Hawks opponent in a G7 with 39.
Ray Allen played in the most Game 7s in NBA history, with his teams going 7-4. Paul Pierce and Bill Russell are second with 10 appearances. Pierce was 5-5. Russell was 10-0.
Russell averaged 18.6 points, 29.3 rebounds and 48.8 minutes. Staggering.
Source: Inquirer research, Basketball-Reference.com.