Sixers Devastating Loss in the Eastern Conference Semifinals


More stories from MADISON SOFFIAN


Graphic by Madison Soffian

Sixer-Celtic rivalry lives on.

   The Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers held a 54-28 record for the 2022-2023 NBA season, while being ranked third in the Eastern Conference. Playoffs began April 15th as the Sixers were thrilled to play the Brooklyn Nets, clutching the win in a short but sweet four-game series. After MVP Joel Embiid irritated his knee injury even more in game three (and not playing in game four), the team still managed a 96-88 win, carrying the Sixers into the Eastern Conference semifinals.

 Ben Simmons has yet to make a playoff appearance on the court in Philly— let alone any court in general. Haven’t heard that name in awhile…where is he?

   The Boston Celtics, ranked second in the Eastern Conference, played the Atlanta Hawks in a seven-game series in the first round of playoffs. Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart carried the Celtics to Philly where they played in the semis. 

   At the Celtics home court, Philly remarkably took the first win of the series, a close score of 119-115. James Harden took charge while Embiid was injured, leading the team with 45 points. The last minute of this game was extremely crucial, as the score was near tied. Under 30 seconds left and the Celtics made a sloppy pass to Maxey who slammed it with ease. 8.4 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics were now up by 1, Harden drained a 3 at the top of the key, and a timeout was called. Philly leads the series 1-0.

   This gritty win for Philly in Boston unfortunately did not last long, a 34 point loss following just days later… series tied 1-1.

   The third game of the series was at the Wells Fargo Center, as Embiid took the court once again. It was a close score at the end of each quarter; the Celtics took the lead and executed well to gain a 12 point lead by the end.

Boston leads the series 2-1

   Game four was a game changer for the sixers. James Harden has been stepping up this series with over 40 points in the fourth game. Approaching the end of the final quarter, the Celtics were up by 2 points with 20 seconds left when Harden had a floater to tie the game, taking the team into overtime. With the Celtics up by 2 points at the 20 second mark during overtime, Embiid was caught tripled in the middle and passed it out to Harden who made a 3-pointer. Marcua Smart then drained a 3-pointer, as well, but the clock rang as Smarts feet were just a second late off the floor, thus the Celtics’ shot was not counted. This huge win for the Sixers took them pridefully to game five, where their drive and work will earn yet another win. Series tied 2-2.

   By the end of the first quarter, the Sixers were already both shooting and defending near perfectly. Tyrese Maxey’s talent was beautifully displayed in this game as he really stepped up compared to previous games in the series. Maxey had 30 points, as well as making 50% of his 3-point shots and 7 rebounds. Tatum led his team with 36 points. This Philly lead completely shocked Boston as the Sixers humbly added another win to their playoff books, the final score being 115-103. Philly leads the series 3-2.

   Game six at Wells Fargo, Tatum performed poorly in the first half as he shot 0 for 10 from the field with one free throw point. Though he was not currently in control as usual, the Celtics still took the lead. It was anyone’s game by half time, with Boston only up by 7. Midway through the fourth quarter, after a rough game, Tatum unexpectedly got hot, and it was not looking too good for the Sixers. Tatum, left defenseless, pulled through by the end for his team, clutching a win and tying up the series for the 3rd time. Series tied 3-3— next game wins. 

   The Sixers had no choice but to tweak their play and show up for their city as game seven in Boston crept up on us. Boston took the final win by 24 points, eliminating the Sixers from the playoffs. Following this loss, head Sixers coach Doc Rivers was fired and Philly is beyond disappointed. 

   Sixer-Celtic rivalry lives on.