It’s Game 6 of the first-round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, a place where the 76ers usually meet defeat and a long offseason. However, tonight the Philly fans are out of their seats. The town of Philadelphia is hoping their underdog 76ers can somehow pull of another win to make it to the second-round for the first time since the 2002-03 season, when Allen Iverson was still in uniform. The first of many injuries to MVP Derrick Rose opened the gate for the 76ers to reach a place they were unfamiliar with. Let’s fast forward to the important part.
The score is 78-77 with Chicago pacing the 76ers at the moment. Bulls center Omer Asik is at the line — a 54 percent career FT shooter — ready to shoot two free throws to put the game out of reach and crush the 76ers championship aspirations.
First shot… miss! Every fan in the arena is now out of their seat, plus the ones watching at home or at the local bars. The beer bottles are being nervously clutched by every fan of the 76ers that can’t remember the last time a playoff series was won. Asik is now sweating profusely, as he has an attempt to give his team at least a two point cushion.
Two dribbles, and the ball leaves his fingertips. The ball bounces off the rim and into the hands of Philly’s best player — but often ridiculed — in Andre Iguodala. The fans in the stands are going wild as Andre sprints down to the other end of the court with five seconds remaining in regulation. Any fan that watched this can remember it as the longest five seconds of their lives.
Iggy is sprinting down the court and he gets to the rim up puts an attempt up and a MISS! But, Thaddeus Young is there to convert the putback. Game over right? Not so fast, the ref blew the whistle before the put back and Andre Iguodala is heading to the line to attempt to send the 76ers to the second-round.
Head coach Doug Collins, as well as the entire Sixers bench, is anxiously waiting for Iguodala — 72 percent career FT — to take his attempt at the two most important free throws of his life.
Later stated in an interview, Andre said he thought of his son before shooting his first free throw. Young Iguodala must have been a good luck charm because Andre nailed the first foul shot and the Philadelphia crowd was beginning to get anxious.
The game is now tied with two seconds remaining. The 6’6″ forward needed to hit this final free throw in order to win the game, no pressure at all. Iguodala was maligned by Philly his whole career for not being the superstar his contract said he should be. This was his chance to have his moment in 76ers lore. Two more dribbles, and he let the ball fly.
The second or so that the ball was spinning in the air seemed like months, the ball wouldn’t fall out of the air. However, Philly wouldn’t be denied tonight as the Spalding ball ripped through the net. In a quick two seconds, Bulls guard C.J. Watson attempted to hit a half court shot, but could not connect. Jrue Holiday appeared to foul Watson on the play, but the whistles were silent that night.
Confetti exploded into the Wells Fargo Center, as Andre Iguodala stood in front of the crowd as his teammates huddled around him cheering.
The 76ers had beaten the number one seed Chicago Bulls, and were officially headed to the second-round of the playoffs for the first time since 2003!