As we all know, the 2010 NBA Finals, featuring the 76ers most hated rivals — the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics — tips off tonight in Los Angeles. 

Yesterday here at the Philadunkia offices we held a group prayer session pleading with the basketball gods to find a way for neither of our fiercest rivals to claim the 2010 NBA title and as we called on the hoop powers that be, some fascinating connections between the 76ers and the two squads in the 2010 NBA Finals came to light.

So we thought we’d share with our readers some of the interesting and fun gems we discussed and debated yesterday here at the Philadunkia offices.


2009-10 Regualr Season

While there is no denying that overall the 2009-10 season was an absolute train wreck for the organization, the 76ers did give tremedous efforts in their games vs. Boston and Los Angeles.  In fact the win up in Boston and the loss at home to the Lakers were two of the more memorable contests of the season. 

If you think back to that December night in Boston you may remember that the Sixers entered that game coming off a stretch in which they had beaten GSW and played very respectable basketball in a 108-101 loss to Cleveland.  Thanks to 23 & 8 from Elton Brand, the Sixers followed that two game ray of hope with a huge upset in Boston.  Many thought that  7th win of the year would be a turning point for the Sixers season, boy were they wrong.

As for the January run with Kobe and the Lakers, well that was the game where Allen Iverson flashed us all back to 2001 by going off.  Iverson scored 23 points — 15 in the third quarter and single handily kept the Sixers in the game.  If it wasn’t for a few no-calls against Kobe (see pic at left) — who later admitted he “demanded” to guard Iverson in the late 3rd and 4thquarter because “The Answer” was so hot — the Sixers could have won that game.

The Sixers were 1-3 vs. Boston this season

11/03/09 in Philly : Celtics – 105, Sixers – 74

11/25/09 @ Boston : Celtics – 113, Sixers 110

12/18/09 @ Boston : Sixers – 98, Celtics – 97

3/05/10 in Philly : Celtics – 99, Sixers – 90

The Sixers were 0-2 vs. LAL this season

 1/29/10 in Philly : LAL – 99, Sixers – 91

2/26/10 @ LA : LAL – 99, Sixers – 91


The Draft

The 76ers have had an interesting impact on both the Lakers and the Celtics current rosters by what the they have or have not done in the NBA Draft over the last 15 years.  Now, we are not placing blame here nor are we trying to say that  the Sixers would be in the Finals if they had done this or that in past Drafts, we’re just giving you a few interesting nuggets of Sixers Draft history and how those decisions had an impact on the two teams in the 2010 NBA Finals.

In 1996 the Sixers selected Georgetown star Allen Iverson with the #1 overall pick while local product Kobe Bryant (Lower Merion HS) slid down to the #13 spot where Charlotte drafted him and thgen traded Kobe to the Lakers.

In 1998 the 76ers passed on the opportunity to select Kansas star Paul Pierce and instead took combo guard Larry Hughes (St. Louis) at #8.  Former Sixers GM Billy King has frequently talked about how there was a heated debate between him and then 76ers head coach Larry Brown over which prospect to take with this pick.  King was in favor of Pierce and brown wanted Hughes, who he was convinced could be converted into a point guard.  Brown won and Hughes was picked by the Sixers. 

In 2006 the Sixers passed on Rojon Rondo at #13 to select Theba Sefolosha who they then traded to Chicago for Rodney Carney.  Rondo went 21st in that Draft to the Suns who then traded him to Boston.

In 2007 the Sixers had the 30th pick (final pick of the 1st round) and they selected  Petteri Koponen a guard from Finland and then traded him to Portland.  With the 5th pick in the 2nd round of the 2007 NBA Draft (35thoverall pick), Seattle drafted Glen Davis and then traded him to Boston along with Ray Allen for Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and the rights to the 5th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Jeff Green.

NBA Post Season

Obviously the Sixers have a storied playoff history with both the Celtics and the Lakers that has helped contribute to the bitterness of our rivalries with both franchises.  The 76ers are 1-3 vs. the Lakers in the NBA Finals and 3-4 vs. Boston when it really matters.

Below are the results of the Finals matchups between the 76ers and the Lakers.

1980 — Los Angeles defeated Philadelphia, 4-2

1982 — Los Angeles defeated Philadelphia, 4-1

1983 — Philadelphia defeated Los Angeles 4-0

2001 — Los Angeles defeated Philadelphia, 4-1

The 76ers and the Celtics have tipped off in 93 postseason matchups, spanning across 18 different series, including 7 “division” or “conference” finals where a trip to the NBA Finals was on the line.  Below are the results of the division / conference finals matchups between the C’s and Sixers.

1965 — Boston defeated Philadelphia, 4-3 (Division Finals)

1967 — Philadelphia defeated Boston, 4-1 (Division Finals)

1968 — Boston defeated Philadelphia, 4-3 (Division Finals)

1980 — Philadelphia defeated Boston, 4-1 (Conference Finals)

1981 — Boston defeated Philadelphia, 4-3 (Conference Finals)

1982 — Philadelphia defeated Boston, 4-3 (Conference Finals)

1985 — Boston defeated Philadelphia, 4-1 (Conference Finals)


One Last Item

In summer 2009, Ed Stefanski interviewed Boston assistant coach and defensive guru Tom Thibodeau for the Sixers vacant head coaching position.  Instead of hiring Thibodeau, who at the time was our first choice for the job, Stefanski hired his buddy Eddie Jordan and the rest as they say was the 2009-10 NBA debacle in Philadelphia.

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