|This game. This series. This season. This era of Sixers basketball. I feel like it might have all come to an end tonight with Rajon Rondo hitting a pair of jump shots he has no business even taking. Thanks to the Sixers for putting up one hell of a fight. Sorry it had to end.|
|Do or die, part one. The Sixers did. On a night when the Sixers went through just a gruesome lull on the offensive end, they put together 48 minutes of the toughest defense you'll ever see to put the Celtics to bed 82-75 and send the series back to Boston for a decisive game seven. (game capsule)|
|Doug Collins adjusted to and exploited Boston's small lineup in game four with Lavoy Allen and Thad Young. In game five, Doc Rivers took a look at the Sixers roster and realized going small was doing them a favor, so he went bigger. The Sixers weathered the size disadvantage for 24 minutes, then collapsed. 3-2, Boston, heading back to Philly for game 6. (game capsule).|
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|They wouldn't be the Sixers if they didn't kick you in the behind just when you started to give up hope. In what had to be the most improbable comeback of my lifetime, the Sixers took a 14-0 start and spat it out. They took a horrific ending to the first half that saw them trailing by 15 and laughed it off. They took an 18-point, third-quarter deficit and gave it the finger. They simply would not be denied. They simply would not quit when everything and everyone said they should. (game capsule).|
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|They just wouldn't be the Sixers if they didn't kick you in the face just when you were starting to believe. The only question after tonight's drubbing at the hands of the Celtics is whether the sky is falling, or if it has already fallen. The only guys who can answer that question are the Sixers players, and they won't get a chance to answer it until they take the floor on Friday night. (game capsule).|
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|This is why we watch playoff basketball. The highs, the lows, the growth, the guts...Just an amazing, amazing display of intestinal fortitude by the Sixers tonight in taking home court advantage away from the Boston Celtics, 82-81. A huge win, and a big first step. Meaningless, though, without the next three. Don't get too high, don't get too low. (game capsule).|
|This is going to be more of a war than a series. The first battle went to the Celtics tonight. The Sixers blew an opportunity to steal game one on the road, but this is far from a death knell. This was the Sixers setting the tone and showing the Celtics they're in for a fight. This was also 36 minutes for Kevin Garnett, 39 minutes for Paul Pierce and 40 minutes for Rajon Rondo, to hold serve. As the road team, you want to split the first two games. It's just going to have to happen in game two. (game capsule)|
|The Sixers spent the first three quarters scuffling for points any way they could find them and stifling the Bulls on the other end of the floor. Unfortunately, the Bulls defense was better and the Sixers couldn't hit the jumpers the Bulls were giving them. In the fourth quarter, that all changed. They scored 28 points on 19 possessions, led by Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, who wouldn't be denied. (game capsule)|
|Philadelphia's poor performance in the opener of their first-round series against the Bulls stopped being the story with 1:10 left in the game when Derrick Rose tore his ACL on a crazy jump-stop in the lane. Rose's absence is certainly an advantage for the Sixers in the remaining games of the series, but he didn't beat them today. The Sixers have a lot of work to do, schematically, on the defensive end prior to game two. (game capsule)|
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|In a game which they had to lose, if facing the Bulls instead of the Heat in the first round is preferable (Evan Turner thinks it is), the Sixers just couldn't help but win. You can't expect the players to tank, and I suppose leaving three of his best players behind in Pennsylvania and a fourth in street clothes was as far as Doug Collins was willing to go in the tanking direction. Luckily, the Knicks pulled out a win over the Clippers, so it's no harm no foul. (game capsule)|
|There haven't been many opportunities to feel good about this team over the past couple of months. Tonight, you should allow yourself the pleasure. The Sixers came into this game with an opportunity to put themselves in the playoffs and secure a +.500 season for the first time in 7 years. The left the floor a bit bloodied, but smiling through the pain as they put the final nail in Milwaukee's coffin. (game capsule)|
|This is the type of game that really would've gotten us excited a couple of months ago. Hopefully, it's the type of game we're going to see a couple of times in the playoffs. It's not really the fact that the Sixers won a close game against a good team that encourages, it's the fact that they played tough. They bodied up one of the most physical teams in the league, and really pushed them around in this overtime win. (game capsule).|
|And just like that, the entire season changes. No longer are the Sixers slumping to the lottery, but they sit 2.5 games ahead of the folding Bucks, seemingly secure in the final playoff slot in the East, a date with the Chicago Bulls written in dry-eraser on the white board! Oh, glorious day. Passionate...Intense...Proud! (game capsule) Wait, what? Two badly timed losses could knock them back into the lottery? Ah, nevermind.|
|The good news is this game was much more reminiscent of the way the Sixers played earlier in the season than their recent stretch of hopeless play. The bad news is that this was reminiscent of their early season play in that they did everything they could to lose a close game. (game capsule)|
|It's not that the Sixers have collectively cashed in this season that bothers me. It's not that they look like an NBADL team out there that keeps me up at night. I can deal with bad teams. I've dealt with them in the past. There's always been a reason to watch. The thing that makes this season so unbelievably unbearable is that they had to start out so well. They had to plant that seed of false hope, only to fall to pieces in front of our eyes. I'm sure it's not the case, but when you watch them get beat up by the Magic without Dwight, you can't help but say to yourself, "They don't even care." (game capsule)|
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