Prior to Wednesday night’s win, coach Doug Collins showed his team the tape of the 1982 Sixers knocking off the Celtics in a memorable Game 7 at the Boston Garden.
Thirty years later, the 2011-12 Sixers are in position to write their own legendary tale — with a much different cast of characters.
The 1982 team was led by stars Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney and Darryl Dawkins. They went 58-24 in the regular season, earning the East’s No. 3 seed. This Sixers team has no such superstars and limped into the playoffs as the eight seed.
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But now that they’re surprisingly one win away from the conference finals, they aren’t just settling for a good story. They want the sequel.
“I want more. I’m going to get greedy. We’ve fought and worked, and gone through a lot. We’ve grown,” Collins said.
In order to advance to the NBA’s final four for the first time since 2001, the Sixers will have to overcome the terrors of playing a Game 7 on the road. Since that 1982 win, there have been 60 Game 7s in NBA history. The road team has won just 11 of them. These Celtics went 24-9 at home in the regular season and are 5-1 there in the playoffs.
Predictably, the Celtics are downplaying their advantage.
“You can’t rely on just being at home,” coach Doc Rivers said. “In the end, it always comes down to players making shots and making plays. That’s what it will be on Saturday.”