Apr 14, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coachDoug Collins
points to the crowd after game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers defeated the Cavaliers, 91-77. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
It was a quiet Thursday night in Philadelphia and the Sixers, a team was almost on the outside looking in at the playoffs, were on the brink of making history. All they had to do was win in Philly at a sold out Wells Fargo Center. Game 6 between the squads was an instant classic as both teams knew what was at stake: Win or go home.
Andre Iguodala played a great game after shooting only 38 percent for the series before Game 6. Iggy finished with 20 points and shot 7-of-12 from the field and 2-of-3 from downtown. The Sixers looked more athletic than ever scoring 21 fast break points,while the Bulls scored a measly nine fast break points. Those fast break points proved to be the difference as the fast break was one of the teams core strengths.
Fast forwarding to the fourth quarter, the Sixers tied the game at 70 after an Iguodala trey ball. Lou Williams would drill another there shortly after, with the Sixers and Bulls leaving it all on the floor. After a few messy possessions, Philly found themselves down one point with 14 seconds left. Thaddeus Young scored an acrobatic lay up, which relinquished the Bulls lead to 77-78 with 12 seconds left.
On the next Bulls possession Omer Asik was fouled hard and sent to the free-throw line. The Wells Fargo Center became engulfed with crazed fans at this point, making as much noise as humanly possible. The Philadelphia crowd watched as Asik missed both free throws. With just under six seconds left Iguodala raced down the floor and drove for the lay up but was fouled. The story book ending was right in sight for Andre Igoudala, a player that had endured so much scrutiny from the fans and media since his arrival.
Andre stepped to the line and hit the first free-throw after taking a few deep breaths. As fans watched, he drilled the second free-throw and the arena exploded in jubilant cheer. After a huge full court shot by the Bulls that almost went in, the dream had finally been realized.
For a new generation of Sixers basketball in the post Allen Iverson era, the team had advanced in the playoffs and became only the fifth team to be an eight seed and defeat a one seed. The score 79-78 will be a lasting image in Philadelphia sports history. It was just one playoff victory but for this team it meant so much more and for just one night it cemented Igoudala into Philadelphia sports lore.
The 76ers would meet a familiar opponent in the second-round and it would lead to a true showing of power and continue on a rivalry like no other. That team was none other than the Boston Celtics.