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Sixers have reason to be proud after 2nd round exit

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After years of trusting the process the Philadelphia 76ers were the biggest surprise team in the NBA after being one of the worst teams for four years.

The Sixers season ended in the semi-finals of the NBA playoffs with a game 5 loss to the Boston Celtics.After a game 1 loss in Boston, the Sixers played game 2 and had 20 point lead but lost the lead and the game by the final buzzer. In the 3rd game, Marco Belinelli hit a 2 point shot to send the game to overtime where the Sixers lost again. Game 4 was the only game in the series that the Sixers won and pushed the series to game 5.

After game 5, the NBA announced that two calls were missed in the final two minutes of the game that could’ve changed the outcome. The first was a foul committed by center Aron Baynes. Baynes fouled Embiid on a layup attempt that could have tied them game. The second missed call was Marcus Smart turning the ball over in the final seconds of the game. The Celtics who are missing star guard, Kyrie Irving due to surgery and haven’t had Gordon Hayward were able to beat the Sixers and move to the Eastern Conference Finals and play against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Not the way I wanted it to end but Hell of a series… Much respect to Boston and those fans.. y’all made it fun #TheProcess,” tweeted Embiid after the game 5 loss to the Celtics.

Although the Sixers couldn’t go all the way this season was a huge step for the second youngest team in the NBA. The Sixers finished as the third seed behind the Toronto Raptors and the Celtics. The Sixers also finished 52-30, the teams first 50 win season since 2000-01 when Allen Iverson led the team to the NBA Finals. The Sixers also finished their regular season on a 16 win streak. During that streak All-Star Joel Embiid missed several games and didn’t return until game 3 of the playoff series against the Miami Heat. Embiid missed the games due to a fractured orbital after colliding with teammate Markelle Fultz.

Although Embiid was the only All-Star selected from the team rookie, Ben Simmons made a huge impact after sitting out all of last season. Simmons was the first pick in the 2016 draft but missed the season after injuring his foot during the preseason. Simmons finished the season in elite company averaging 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 8.2 assists, and 1.7 steals with a field goal percentage of  54.5.

Though Simmons will most likely win rookie, Sixers first pick of the 2017 draft Fultz barely played this season. Fultz was ruled out early in the season due to a shoulder injury and missed almost the entire season. Although Fultz only played 14 games this season he did become the youngest player to ever have a triple double at 19 years and 317 days old in a late season win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Fultz also said that his shoulder is still not at “100%” even though missing most of the season. The Sixers also had several other great players on the team including J.J. Redick, Marco Belinelli, T.J. McConnell, Robert Covington, and several others.

After their season had come to a close, Sixers coach Brett Brown has said that that the team would need another “high level free agent” to win a championship. Lebron James of the Cavs is the biggest target of all teams and Brown has hinted that the Sixers will be pursuing him. Another free agent that the Sixers could sign would be Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George.

 

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Sixers have reason to be proud after 2nd round exit