Sixers’ playoff drought has come to an end

Garrett Hallinan

For the first time in six years, the Philadelphia 76ers are advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Every seat was taken, all the fans were excited, and the stakes were set for the Philadelphia 76ers to take on the Miami Heat in game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Tuesday, April 24.

Going into the big game, the Sixers had a 3-1 lead over the Heat. This was their chance to finish Miami off once and for all, and with home court advantage, it was certainly doable.

The Sixers got off to a slow start, shooting just 38% from the field in the first half. Little noise was heard from the fans, as the first half came to an end with the score tied up 46-46.

Although the score was tied, the flow of the game favored the Heat. With both teams shooting poorly and hard fouls being committed, things were not looking too good for the Sixers.

But then came the third quarter. After a slow start, the Sixers came out hot. Shooting guard JJ Redick led the charge, as the Sixers outscored the Heat 34-20 in the quarter.

With a fourteen point lead going into the fourth quarter, Philly fans had a good feeling their team was going to get the job done. However, the Heat were not going away that easily.

Midway through the fourth, the Heat’s shooting guard Dwyane Wade made a reverse layup to cut the Sixers’ lead to eight points. For a moment, it looked as though Wade would bring the Heat back to life, refusing to call this his final game.

With five minutes remaining, the Heat’s forward James Johnson committed a technical foul against Sixers’ shooting guard Marco Belinelli. This changed the tides, as the Sixers capitalized off their free throw opportunities.

Belinelli and Redick applied the finishing touches, knocking down two big shots late in the game. When the clock made its final tick, the scoreboard read, Sixers- 104, Heat- 91.

Finishing off the Heat in five games was huge for the Sixers. In addition to moving on to the next round, the players get a couple extra days to rest up.

It is finally the Sixers’ time. For the fans who have stuck with them through the thick and thin, this is the year the process arrives at its destination. Whether or not the Sixers make it past the next round, it’s been great to see them win over 50 games during the regular season, be named the three-seed, and make it past the first round.