05/26/12 8:37 am EST
Win and it’s on to the Eastern Conference Finals, a place no one, not even the most dedicated member of Philadunkia nation believed we could go. Suffer a loss and it’s a lock that tonight is the last time you’ll all be together in the Sixers locker room.
Really there’s not much else left to say.
So just go out and win the damn thing.
Tonight, prove all the “experts” wrong. Go out there and play your asses off; end the hated Boston Celtics season and send “The Big Three” into trade bait mode.
It’s that simple. Now go do it.
Our Game 7 predictions after the jump.
Look, the odds are with the Celtics in Game 7… and that’s the way the Sixers should want it. There will be so much pressure on Boston to close out this game and move on to their “media booked” rematch with the Heat, that it could favor the young squad from Philadelphia.
I mean, what do they have to lose here compared to the Celtics who are on their last hurrah? If the 7-6 do exactly what they did in Game 6, Jrue Holiday and company could be on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001. For the Sixers to win, they need to continue to make KG shoot 20-foot jumpers. They need to keep pressuring Pierce any time he thinks about touching the rock. They need to force the issue in the post offensively. And most importantly, they need to keep Rondo out of the game mentally and physically.
Did you see Rondo on the bench in Game 6? Did you see Pierce smack him in the back of the head as to say, “What the hell are you thinking tonight?”? Did you see his stat line? Rondo looked like he checked out before the jump; he looked like he’s finally had it with being the fourth wheel of the vehicle that drives the Boston Celtics. Use that to your advantage Philly! If you make Rondo force the issue to the point where he makes mistakes and do the things above, you can steal yet another important road game.
I’ve run out of things to say about this team because I’ve already said all of them. I’ve taken more positions on the Sixers this season than Mitt Romney has on…well, most things.
The 20-9 start: We’re the best team in the NBA! Look at our scoring differentials! No team that wins games the way we win them isn’t destined for, at worst, a deep playoff run.
The beginning of the 15-22 lull that ended the regular season: Just bad luck. Don’t sweat it. There’s no such thing as the “good teams win the close games” nonsense that’s being propagated. That’s just conventional unwisdom. Good teams avoid close games.
The end of the 15-22 lull to end the regular season: We suck. We can’t defend in the fourth quarter. We have no one who can create shots. We shoot too many sloppy 20-footers to beat anybody. We, seriously, don’t even deserve to be in the playoffs.
The Chicago series: We got lucky, what else can you say? The Bulls lost their two best players. Is that a credit to Doug Collins’ coaching or Andre Iguodala’s maturity? Can we credit Jrue Holiday’s growth as a scorer with the devastation of Derrick Rose’s ACL?
The beginning of the Boston series: What we’re seeing right now is just a reflection of what the Sixers are now and always have been. They’re a good young team who got extraordinarily unlucky in the regular season, whose luck is starting to even out.
The back end of the Boston series (i.e. now): This team is battled-tested and steely eyed; made hard and unbreakable by the crucible of all the woe it suffered. They’re a lightening fast, proudly ugly, quiet juggernaut primed to take the world by storm. Watch out world. Watch the f**** out.
So, if you’re looking for a cool-headed, clear-eyed prediction about what’s going to happen on Saturday, you’re going to have to ask somebody else. As long as you’re asking me though, Sixers win 92-86.
Game 7 in Boston, will definitely be tough for the young Sixers with little experience in these types of games. Boston does have that experience, but are very old, and many people wonder if they can hold up. I do not think they can.
Pierce and Allen will continue to be non factors, and I think game 7 is the time where Kevin Garnett stops playing like he is 25, and returns back to his normal form, where we have a chance of preventing him from dominating the glass. Rondo will be a tough cover, but I think that the key is KG, who I feel like will be ineffective after this tough series resulting in a Sixers victory, and a date with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
I have platinum rider status on this 76ers roller coaster, so nothing this team does surprises me anymore. If they somehow get smoked tonight by the leprechauns, I will not be surprised. And if the 7-6 to go into Boston and beat a much more experienced (and on paper more talented), but injury riddled Celtics team in Game 7 that would not shock me either. In fact I actually believe they will do it.
I predicted 40 wins for this squad in 2011-12 and people called me a dreamer. When they jumped out to a 20-9 start I looked like a genius. When they collapsed and went 15-22 to close the year, well…I didn’t look so smart. When the Sixers win tonight in Boston, it will be their 43rd win of the year and they’ll be headed to the NBA ECF. Even I never dreamed that would be a possibility in 2011-12.
For this dream to become a reality tonight in addition to playing stellar defense, two things must happen. “The Jruth” must continue to lead a parade of Sixers down the lane and to the cup. It’s key that Holiday uses his dribble penetration to start strong and then be the “closer” for this team in the 4th. Next, Turner must continue to be aggressive on offense. Iso’s on Ray Allen, drives to the tin and pushing the ball on the break. Whatever it takes, ET needs to support Jrue’s efforts with his own assertive play. If Holiday and Turner lead the way on offense the others will follow. Don’t let the C’s have a break on defense. Make them work on every Sixers possession. Wear them out and come home victorious. Ohh yeah and make your damn free throws!!!!