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Sixers are currently the pride of Philly sports scene


So here we are, just two weeks from the unofficial start of summer. The Flyers got sent home, and the Phillies, well, I really can’t describe nicely what is going on with them right now. When Ruben Amaro implies the team could be sellers at the deadline, that is not a good thing. Andre Iguodala photo: Getty Images

So that brings us to the 76ers, currently the pride of Philadelphia sports and the least likely team in the NBA to have a 3-1 series lead let alone still be playing basketball. With seconds remaining in Thursday’s Game 6 against the top-seeded Chicago Bulls at Wells Fargo Center, a possible Game 7 in Chicago loomed large.

With Chicago leading the Sixers 78-77 after one of the sloppiest fourth quarters I have ever seen the Sixers play (and I’ve seen some of the worst teams the franchise has ever had), the Bulls’ Omer Asik, one of the worst free throw shooters on the team, would have all but guaranteed a Bulls win if he made both shots at the line.

Instead, he missed them, and when much maligned Sixer Andre Iguodala grabbed the rebound, dribbled down the court and was fouled with 2.2 seconds remaining on the clock, all of Philadelphia held its collective breath. Iguodala, who shot 45 percent from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter this season, stepped up to the line. You could feel the uneasiness amongst the entire Wells Fargo crowd. If Iguodala missed these shots, his legacy as one of Philadelphia’s all-time shrink-in-the-clutch players would be officially validated.

So naturally, in the most fitting way to cap off this series, Iguodala drained them both. With no time outs remaining, Chicago threw up an all too close hail mary, but it missed.

Iguodala was the hero, and the Sixers are moving on.

By all rights, this was an ugly, ugly game. The Sixers had as much as an eight point lead at halftime as well as in the third quarter, but Chicago had 29 second chance points compared to just five for the Sixers. The Bulls’ defense completely shut down the Sixers in the fourth quarter. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that the second round series against the Celtics that starts Saturday could be a disaster if the Sixers don’t improve their performance.

There is no way the Sixers are in this position if there's a healthy Derrick Rose and everybody knows this. For now however, let’s just soak this one in. Only five times since 1984 has an eighth seed upset a number one seed. And the Sixers, who’ve scratched, clawed and hung on for dear life, are the best thing Philly sports fans have going for them right now. 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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