The Last of Us: 76ers-Hawks Game Six
The 76ers have dropped two straight games to the Atlanta Hawks. Both games, as we all know, they should have won. The fact of the matter is that this series should be over. We should all be sitting around awaiting the results of the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks series to find out who we will be facing in the Eastern Conference Finals. Instead, the Sixers are back in Atlanta tomorrow night for Game 6, facing elimination.
If the Sixers lose, it will certainly be an end of an era for basketball in Philadelphia. The Process will be deemed a failure, as the one seeded Philadelphia 76ers failed to get out of the second round of the playoffs. If you turn on the radio or television, log onto any of the godforsaken social media platforms, or read any website or blog, you would think this series is already over. I am here to assure you that it’s not.
THE END OF AN ERA WILL NOT HAPPEN TOMORROW NIGHT
A loss tomorrow would mean that Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons, for the third game in a row, failed to show up when the team needed them most. It would also likely mean that Daryl Morey and the Sixers front office will be shopping our second and third stars this offseason. Both of which, should probably happen if the Sixers lose but again, I just don’t see that happening.
The Sixers, a team that has officially hit rock bottom, are a much better team than the Hawks. The last two games were decided by three points. Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris literally cannot play any worse. Joel Embiid and Seth Curry are both playing fantastic basketball. All it will take is a slight return to form from Ben and/or Tobias and tomorrow night will be over before tip-off.
So why is everyone acting like we are doomed?
AN ONLINE MELTDOWN
Over the last 24 hours, I have watched social media, on the national and local level, embarrass themselves beyond repair. I have watched Sixers fans on Twitter, who were praising Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid less than a week ago, turn their backs on this team and demand the organization blows everything up. I have seen tweets stating that certain individuals will no longer watch the Sixers, how Ben Simmons should be traded for Dejounte Murray (seriously), and how Tobias Harris isn’t worth a max contract.
I have seen attention seeking whores put up lazy, boring, “Missing” photos around Philadelphia with the faces of Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris. I have watched the same group of Twitter accounts, that always want to catch myself and The Liberty Line in a “gotcha” moment, relentlessly retweet old TLL tweets and tweets of my own regarding Ben Simmons as proof that we were wrong about everything and they were right.
There are “Sixers Twitter” accounts threatening to rebrand like anyone actually gives a shit. There are credentialed sports blogs doing draft profiles and raving about having two contributors with verified check marks that no one takes seriously. There are dogs bouncing balls into cups and guys claiming their girlfriends are good luck charms. There are lists of the worst losses in Philly sports history. What in the actual hell is going on?
There are opposing fan bases coming out of no where talking about the Sixers like they have watched a single game all season. Hypothetical trades that will never happen are popping up everywhere. Twitter polls are posted from “serious” media outlets claiming Embiid faked his medically diagnosed knee injury. It’s god damn circus out there and we still have two scheduled games left in this series against the Hawks. Get it together, Sixers fans. This series is not over.
A MUCH NEEDED REALITY CHECK
No one is denying that the Sixers lost in historic fashion the last two nights. No one is sticking up for Ben Simmons or Tobias Harris and their performances over the last two games. Are people really that dumb? Does anyone actually believe that other people find their play acceptable? Of course not, but that doesn’t stop the hate and down right embarrassing behavior from the majority of Sixers fans on the internet.
These faceless twitter accounts are all fucking losers. They are sad, lonely, individuals (possibly robots) that have nothing better to do than to turn their backs on the teams they supposedly root for at the first sign of adversity and look for anyone who has said positive things about the Sixers in the past to exploit for their own sad, personal enjoyment. It’s ridiculous, toxic behavior and for some bizarre reason no one speaks out against it so I guess I will.
Change your Twitter accounts. Nobody gives a shit. If you want to stop watching sports, you probably should. It’s clear none of you are mentally strong enough to endure the trials and tribulations of rooting for a professional sports team. Maybe you’re better off reading a book or skipping rocks at a lake. Whatever you want to do, I don’t care, just leave everyone else alone. These people, as I have stated time and time again, are frauds and should not be taken seriously. Speaking of frauds, let’s talk about the beloved media.
THE FRAUDULENT MEDIA IS FOAMING AT THE MOUTH
The WIP Morning Show couldn’t wait for another bad Sixers game. It is the only way they stay relevant. They prey on the emotions of Philadelphia sports fans and provide a toxic environment for everyone else trying to enjoy a playoff run. A poll about Embiid faking a knee injury? Another poll about if people hate 24-year old Ben Simmons? What is wrong with you people? How anyone could go to work on a daily basis and strategically plan on how to piss the most people off in the quickest way possible is beyond me. Does anyone in this city stand behind their teams and root for success?
Spike Eskin, a gatekeeping, opportunist asshole, hopped on his Process Podcast after a historic Sixers loss and threw up into a microphone about how he was right about Ben Simmons. You had Sixers fans tweeting pathetic things like “I was finally emotionally stable enough to listen to Spike” blah blah blah. You’re all a bunch of losers. Just give it up already and stop making everything about you. There is basketball left to be played. Although things don’t look great right now, simply turning your back and rooting for the downfall of our own players is pathetic.
Even during tonight’s Bucks Nets game, Mark Jones was on a national broadcast saying that the “winner of this series will take on the Atlanta Hawks who lead Philadelphia three games to two.” Seriously Mark? Do better. You all need to do much, much, better.
Everything we have witnessed over the last 24 hours has been down right pathetic. A playoff series is seven games, they are not five games. The Sixers are the one seed and have an opportunity to take the Hawks back to Philadelphia for game seven. In game sevens, as we all know, anything can happen. The Sixers just need a win tomorrow to get some momentum back and then handle business at home.
The truth of the matter is this. Not one person, robotic or human, thought the 76ers would lose like they did the last two nights. Both games were statistical outliers to how things have gone for the Sixers this season. You can even throw game one in the same category. The Hawks are an inferior opponent for the 76ers. The Sixers have beaten themselves the last two games and still only lost by three points in both outings.
You mean to tell me this series is over? Give me a fucking break. In game five of the 76ers-Raptors series, the Sixers lost 125 to 89. They were down 3-2 in the series. They won game six and lost game seven on an unreal shot from the corner that bounced off the rim a million times and was honestly a traveling violation to begin with. Seven games. There are seven games in this series. Not five. Seven. You don’t just get to check out and abandon this team after two losses. We didn’t sit around and watch the Sixers for the last seven months to go out like this. We deserve better. The Sixers deserve better.
THE LAST OF US
Unlike many of you, who have already claimed you’re done with the Sixers and sports in general, I’m still here. I’m going to root for this team until there’s no longer basketball games left to be played this season. I am always going to believe that they can win and battle back from any adversity, no matter how big a battle that actually is.
Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, although flawed, are better basketball players than they have been the last two games. That’s just a fact. They didn’t all of the sudden forget how to play basketball against the Atlanta Hawks. The law of averages demand that they will perform closer to the mean tomorrow night. I don’t even know if I’m using those terms correctly, but you get the point.
Have we all forgotten what it means to root for a team? Who’s left out there still giving the Sixers a chance? There’s very few, if any believers that the Sixers will pull this off. I happen to be one of them. Of course, I don’t know if the Sixers will win tomorrow night. Maybe they will. Maybe they wont.
Like clockwork, I’ll get dragged into oblivion for this article regardless. The Sixers have to win. There’s simply too much on the line for them not to win. They are the better team in this series and it’s not even close. All it takes is one win. Handle business tomorrow night and then close it out in Game 7 at home in front of a sold out Wells Fargo Center. From there, everything resets. We can regroup and focus on the Eastern Conference Finals.
Mandatory Credit: Ryan Conway | The Wolves of Broad Street | The Barstool Sports Kid