Critical blow to the Process: the Sixers, touched and sunk?

Philadelphia goes home after falling, leaving a bad image in Boston in a seventh game that will remain to be remembered by a toss-up never seen before. While Jason Tatum led the Celtics with 51 pointsmaximum historical annotation in a game 7 in the playoffs, Joel Embiidchosen one MVP of the NBA just two weeks ago, ended up being questioned about his disappearance and low level in the most important match of the season. The Cameroonian finished with just 15 points and a very poor 5/18 in field goals. The first changes came on May 16 with the dismissal of Doc Rivers. The coach was fired after three seasons (2020-2023).

Doc Rivers finished his time in the Sixers in what was his home, the home where he got the ring in 2008, leaving his name in the history books. But for bad. The technician has lost 10 seventh games since I started coaching in the NBA since 1999, when he agreed to be the leader of the Magic’s bench. In turn, he has lost seven eliminatory in which he was 3-1 or 3-2 up on the scoreboard.

To get an idea, MilwaukeeBoston and Atlanta, they have lost just nine in all the years they have been in the league. Rivers is second only to the Sixers themselves, with eleven. Morey and the board have preferred dispense with their services to look for something different. Embiid is on his way to catching it. The three sevenths games he has played, he has lost them (Toronto, Atlanta and Boston).

Pulling data to materialize the lousy game of the two Philly stars, Embiid and Harden, both scored eight baskets between the two and had nine losses. The beard did not score not a single point in the fourth quarter of the last three games in the series. Those who had to appear disappeared, delegating tasks to the secondary ones, who seemed to be hungrier when they jumped onto the track. Harris (19 points) and a Maxey who went from less to more (17) were the top scorers in a duel that was decided upon returning from the break.

The worrying thing is not the numbers. A bad night can have anyone. The tiny desire to try it, the neglect and apathy of the MVP of the regular season, achieved with all the honors, convey a sensation that is difficult to salvage. The inability to lead in perhaps the most important meeting of his career at his 29 years questions his star status, one of those few players who can be differential in an increasingly tight competition.

Joel Embiid and James Harden (Philadelphia 76ers) in Game 7 of the Playoffs against the Boston Celtics.
Joel Embiid and James Harden (Philadelphia 76ers) in Game 7 of the Playoffs against the Boston Celtics. Adam GlanzmanAFP

He did not know how to find weaknesses in the great defense of horford. A 3/16 in pitches when he was defended by the Dominican show how complicated the night was for him. He could not overcome the pitfalls, the great latticework in his own basket that he drew mazzulla and what a good result it gave. He did not respond to the shock demand, did not take out his inner strenght that characterizes the leaders and, of course, the NBA MVP.

To put Philadelphia’s drought of success into perspective, the last conference finals they’ve been to were in 2001, when they reached the Finals at the hands of Allen Iverson. The kingswho have been 16 years without stepping on the Playoffs (2006-2023), have been to conference finals before (2002). 22 years laterthe Sixers continue without stepping on the maximum stage of the East.

Optimism and illusion

The Sixers season invited optimism, to believe that this year was the right one, the one to leave behind so many nights of impotence and a improper conformism of such a renowned franchise. The game accompanied the high level of the team. Harden found himself again and, with that, brought out the best in his teammates. Maxey, Tucker, niang, Reed and a Melton that has become fixed, they have responded to their role and function, some by far and exceeding expectations and others have found it difficult, but they have accelerated to join the motorway at the most important time of the year. This seemed to be the campaign that would confirm the project, that would agree with Sam Hinkie by the well-known ‘Process’. The path was different. 10 years later, the result is the same.

after being third in the east (54-28) in the regular phase and looking face to face with some Bucks and Celtics who were running as favorites in the bookmakers for the championship, they swept a very different Nets from those who started the season. The renewed team of Vaughnwith Mikal Bridges in the lead, could not win a game against Philadelphia, which showed its dominance and confirmed the good sensations. A choral group, generous, with defensive efforts that erased past bad stages from the mind, which left no room for doubt. They transferred what they had been doing since October, as if it were a continuation.

The harmony that they sought so much in this new stage of the team was found, since Jimmy Butler landed in november 2018. The arrival of the now leader of the Heat created the first crack of what would be the subsequent earthquake. The departure of him July 1, 2019 It gave one to think that the waters would calm down, that there would be a clean slate. The episode of Ben Simmons, which was a whole season without playing and later came out in a bad way, did not help improve the image and transfer the hopes that, coincidentally, never left the fans.

Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia 76ers) against the Boston Celtics in Game 6.
Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia 76ers) against the Boston Celtics in Game 6.TIM NWACHUKWUAFP

Harden opened a new paradigm, a different operation than the sum that never came out. NBA MVP in 2018, one of the best scorers of the century and star of the league for more than a decade. The resume speaks for itself. The perfect partner for Embiid to exploit his qualities. The African did it: 33.1 points and 10.2 rebounds on average in 66 matches from last campaign. He perfect tandem, a lethal duo. The Cameroonian was the top scorer per NBA game. Harden, the top assistant (10.7 per match). First time in 40 years that two teammates from the same team were statistical leaders of the competition.

Tucker’s signature, the irruption of Maxey, the less intermittent regularity of Tobias Harriswho by the way, will charge 39 million next season, Melton’s defense… The Sixers had one of their best templates of the last decade. supporting actors fulfilled with assigned role. They were the best in the most momentous game of the year, something that does not speak very well of the main actors.

The end of ‘The Trial’?

History suggests that if you’ve stayed close to your goal one season, you’ll try again the next. In Philadelphia it seems that the roadmap has not changed, but they still do not know if it will be executed with the same protagonists. The rumor that was released months ago of a possible return of Harden to Houston has come to life. Adrian Wojnarowskijournalist from ESPN, commented on Monday the 15th that the option was real and was gaining strength. The shooting guard found basketball’s best version of him in Texas, where he reached the conference finals in 2015 and 2018In addition to getting the NBA MVP this last date.

Ramona Shelburnefrom the same medium, and one of the reliable sources of the NBA, assures that he saw the scenario in which Harden be back to the orders of Rivers. The same day this information came out, on the 16th, the coach He was fired. The escort has a 35.6 million player option of dollars. He will be in charge of executing it or not. “Our relationship is fine,” commented the 10-time All-Star after deletion in game 7 in Boston.

The figure of 54 victories is the highest since 2001, when they reached the NBA Finals which they subsequently lost to the Lakers 4-1. The decision you make the beard It will affect the build of the team. Niang and Paul Reed, who have been good secondary players this season, will be restricted free agents. Paying all three seems impossible.

The Sixers and Embiid they are touched after elimination against Boston. His coach, fired. He was part of the plans to lose against the Celtics, but the feelings were bad in the last game. The African star, pointed out after his low level in the most important duel of the season. Harden, thinking of a possible returnoh Houston. The secondary they stand as insurance for the next campaign. It only remains to see who the stars will be and in what condition they are to return the Sixers, more than two decades later, to the Olympus of the NBA.

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