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Stop, this NBA team is already dead

The Sixers have been sent crashing out of the Eastern Conference Playoffs after a complete meltdown in Game 6 against Miami on Friday (AEST). Their putrid fate was sealed with a 99-90 loss to the Heat on home soil. Watch Live Coverage of The 2022 NBA Playoffs with ESPN on Kayo including every game of The Conference Finals and The Finals. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >There were simply too many painful details for Sixers fans to endure.The lightning rod for criticism was superstar James Harden as he finished with 11 points to go with Joel Embiid’s limited impact of 20 points, while shooting at just 25 per cent from the field.At least Embiid shot the ball. Harden, the man the Sixers gambled everything on when they paid a king’s ransom in the trade with Brooklyn for Ben Simmons, fell apart.His fourth-quarter meltdown was eerily similar for Sixers fans who have Simmons’ Game 7 capitulation last year burned into their memories. Harden shot just zero from two in the second half. Simmons famously did not attempt fourth-quarter shots in the final four games of the series that saw the Sixers fall to Atlanta 12 months ago.The pressure is also on head coach Doc Rivers, who was forced to answer questions about facing the sack after the game. “I don’t worry about my job,” he said in the post-match press conference.“I think I do a terrific job and if you don’t think that then you should write it.”They were booed by their own fans — and the reaction on social media was even worse. Philadelphia sports radio commentator Jon Johnson said all the team’s miserable years of tanking to get top draft picks was for nothing. “After years of the process, the Sixers find themselves right where they were before —purgatory,” he posted on Twitter.He called the players “quitters” and said they showed “no heart”. Basketball journalist Josh Eberley posted on Twitter it was a “gutless” performance from Harden. ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith was also scathing of Harden. “It was a deplorable performance from the 76ers,” he said.“That performance from James Harden requires an investigation, how do you play 22 minutes in the second half and attempt one shot?! That was an… impotent performance from James Harden.“The effort is what we’re looking for from everybody – what did we see from James Harden tonight?“When you’re a three or four time scoring champion and you literally attempt one shot over 20-22 minutes in an entire second half — that is egregious that is horrible!”“I smell something (at Philadelphia) and it don’t smell right.”For the Sixers, the time to win was now. Instead the team yet again finds itself eliminated in the conference semi-finals.Even worse, their death sentence was sealed by the star player the team let slip through their fingers as Jimmy Butler dropped 32 points to lead his team to victory. Butler even had the cheek to declare he wanted to see Embiid come to Miami to play with him again in an on-court interview.The team’s third quarter disaster was the difference between the two teams as the Heat went on a 25-15 run. The 4-2 elimination leaves the team with nowhere to go. The Sixers were thumped 76ers 120-85 in Game 5 and they look anything but the contender they were supposed to be when they added Harden alongside Embiid.

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