The Toronto Raptors fell to the Philadelphia 76ers in six games during their first-round playoff series. Still, Joel Embiid and Doc Rivers could not use that momentum as a springboard to championship success in the conference semifinals.
Kyle Lowry, former 76er Jimmy Butler, and the Miami Heat had minimal issues knocking Philly out of contention in six games. After winning Game 5 by 35 points and remaining in control for Game 6, Miami proved that they are miles ahead of Philadelphia from a contending point of view.
In addition to Embiid’s performance remaining as volatile as ever and Rivers once again coming up short, James Harden may have been the Least Valuable Player of this series considering how he frequently vanished in the second half. Today is not a good day to be a 76ers fan.
Raptors fans were more than thrilled to pile on the 76ers after their elimination, taking every chance they could get to mock the way they completely capitulated against a motivated Miami team.
Toronto Raptors fans made fun of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Raptors fans might not have liked Embiid’s now-infamous airplane celebration during his elimination of Toronto. A few weeks later, Embiid has found himself back at home on the couch, watching the postseason like the rest of us. Tough scene.
Rivers did not escape his share of the blame, as social media tore into him after his postgame press conference. From claiming that no one expected the 76ers to go far when they hired him despite Embiid’s presence and lashing out at a reporter who questioned his job security, last night was not good for Glenn Rivers.
While it’s easy to make fun of Embiid because he’s the superstar player, Harden deserves more blame. Not only did he score just 11 points in an elimination game, but he was held scoreless in the second half and missed all two of his shots. That’s not acceptable for a scorer of his caliber.
Harden is expected to pick up a player option that will see him make $47 million next season. The fact that the 76ers will have to play Jimmy Harden just shy of $1 million per week while he plays like Andre Miller with a thick beard is bordering on a crime against the basketball gods.
76ers fans love to glorify the “Process” era, but it hasn’t brought them the success they’ve hoped for. They’ve been good, sure, but they haven’t made a Conference Finals since 2001. The iPod was introduced and discontinued in between Philly’s ECF appearances.
The Raptors can’t say that they won their first-round playoff series this year, but that doesn’t mean that watching Philly crash and burn in the postseason is any less enjoyable. Losing to Kyle Lowry once again just makes it even better.