The Philadelphia 76ers’ home opener against the Brooklyn Nets came 124 days after they were eliminated in the 2021 playoffs with a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Conference Semifinals.
However, the final minutes of the game are bound to have brought back some horrid memories from the 2021 playoffs for the 76ers fans.
Over the final 5:32 minutes, the 76ers gave up a 10-point lead and eventually went on to lose 114-109 by allowing the Nets to go on a game-sealing run 16-1 run. Yes, that’s right, they scored one point in the final 5:30 minutes which includes a couple of air-balls from Danny Green and a free-throw miss from super-efficient Seth Curry
This is the third time in their last five games – regular season and playoffs – that the Philadelphia franchise have given up a double-digit lead.
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In Game 4 of their series with the Hawks, they gave up an 18-point lead and in Game 5, they outdid themselves by giving up a 26-point lead.
“We can’t finish games that way,” head coach Doc Rivers said after the Nets game. The 76ers missed their final nine shots as Rivers attributed the late-game offensive stagnation to a lack of ball movement.
It’s not just the players on the court, Rivers might have squandered a couple of opportunities as well to make an impact or break the Nets momentum in the final minutes.
Twice in the final 90 seconds of the game, with the 76ers still up two points, the head coach refused to challenge the official’s call for what seemed like obvious reviews. One was an out-of-bounds call, which clearly seemed out on Kevin Durant with 1:27 left while the other was a block/charge call.
Postgame, Rivers said he turned down on challenging those calls because the team’s video coordinator gave him a ‘thumbs down’
While the magnitude of this loss isn’t as great as the ones in the postseasons, can Rivers and 76ers start delivering when the pressure turns up?
The 2008 NBA championship-winning head coach does have an appreciable number of blown series leads since that title.