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Playing for Pride: Sixers Look to Salvage a Little Bit of Dignity in Game Four

Apr 25, 2011, 6:10 PM EDT

Austin In my preview for this series, I said something along the lines of “Stranger things have happened” when addressing the possibility of a Sixers upset in this series. Well, after the Heat handily won the first three games of this series, this qualification no longer applies–if the Sixers won the remaining four games o fthis series to stun the Big Three and the country at large, it would be the strangest thing that has ever happened–in teh NBA at least, and possibly in all of humanity. Needless to say, the Sixers are not going to win this series. What the boys are playing for now–besides not wanting that “I’m so disappointed in you” look from Grampa Collins for quitting–is pride, plain and simple. Can our starless group of young, slightly ill-fitting parts take one game from this potentially burgeoning NBA superpower?

Counting the regular season, the Sixers are now a rsounding 0-6 against the Heat this season–the only team in the Eastern Conference that the Sixers posted an 0-fer against–and simply can not seem to outplay this team for 48 consecutive minutes. Too much size, too much defensive intesntiy, too much talent, and the Sixers just can’t hang for an entire game. Every single thing needs to go right for our boys for them to even have a chance, and the Liberty Ballers have been shooting themselves in the foot all series with missed layups, free throws and short-range jumpers, unable to capitalize on the few opportunities they have been given.

Perhaps the player with the most to prove today will be Andre Iguodala. With a combined 19 points for the series on 28% shooting, Iguodala has been absolutely miserable from the field, fuel for the fire of all the haters who say that no matter what else he’s doing on the court, ‘Dre is overpaid and over-rated for his inability to score consistently. We could certainly use some ball-in-basket from Andre today, but then again, stirring his hero complex might not be the best thing for this team either, since no one can shoot us out of a game quicker than ‘Dre either. Another lackluster performance shooting the ball from AI9 today, we’re all certainly going to be remembering it as the trade deadline approaches next season.

1:00 tip from the Wells Fargo Center, very possibly the last of the season. Let’s hope our young guys have taken everything they can from this experience–Jrue, Evan and Jodie especially–and continue to grow today, so even if they do get swept, the games won’t have been a complete waste. It’s tough to take such small consolations, but considering that this was a team that started 3-13 and looked to be headed for a season of non-stop misery, we should probably be thankful to be playing for anything at all at this time of year. And hey, it’s not over yet–their chances for a win today might not be fantastic, but in this case, stranger things have indeed happened.


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