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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 22: Tobias Harris #12 reacts with De'Anthony Melton #8 of the Philadelphia 76ers against the Brooklyn Nets during the second half of Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at Barclays Center on April 22, 2023 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The 76ers won 96-88.

It’s just different. Whether you can pinpoint why or not is just how you view basketball, and it’s probably right. But for some, and perhaps many reasons, this Sixers team is just different. 

In James Harden, they have a true playmaker. One that isn’t just a one-trick pony but is a true threat to score the basketball. Even when he’s shooting 4-for-18 from the floor like he did on Saturday. His ability to drain threes, get to the basket, draw and dish is something this team hasn’t seen before in the playoffs when Joel Embiid has been on this team. 

The $30 million, three-year contract awarded to P.J. Tucker in the offseason looks less and less mind-numbing as the playoffs move forward. His toughness, rebounding, and leadership provide an invaluable piece to a team that hasn’t had a true playoff leader during the Embiid era. Jimmy Butler’s leadership ability was unable to shine here, because of surrounding circumstances. 

Tobias Harris, probably and maybe rightfully, the most questioned player on this team is turning those questions into answers. He has been virtually unstoppable on offense. Not unstoppable to the tune of the 40-point songs that Embiid is used to singing, but think about it. When this team needed a big basket, and when the other team knows the Sixers need it and who they are going to, they still couldn’t stop Harris from his back to the basket, dribble to the middle of the lane, fadeaway jumper that has turned golden so far in these playoffs. 

The bench of De’Anthony Melton, Jalen McDaniels, and Paul Reed (sans game four) has not only provided a disruptive defensive presence but also given an offensive spark when needed. 

It’s all so different. And a difference that is sorely needed if the Sixers are to get through the second round. Something that has been quite hard to do as we all know oh so well. 

And the one thing that is familiar, that isn’t different from playoff runs in the recent past, is that Joel Embiid is dealing with yet another injury, this time a sprained knee. While that could grow into devastating news, I don’t believe it will. The bigger news is all the productive pieces this team has surrounding Embiid. That’s just different

Philadelphia 76ers Playoff Bell Ringers 2023

The Philadelphia 76ers entered the 2023 NBA Playoffs as the third seed in a loaded Eastern Conference. 

The Sixers have made the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, but five consecutive disappointing losses (four in the second round) have extended their streak without an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Doc Rivers said it best as a guest on The John Kincade Show.

“We don’t talk about getting out of the second round. To me, that is such low expectations for our team. We talk about winning it, so I guess there’s angst getting out of the second round, but I can tell you we don’t talk about it. The angst more is to try to be a champion, and that’s what we focus on way more than just getting out of the second round.”

Joel Embiid and company hope that the best home-court advantage in the NBA will play in their favor throughout a memorable run this spring.

What gets the home crowd in Philadelphia fired up for a Sixers playoff game? Hearing Matt Cord announce special guests as 76ers bell ringers at half court at the Well Fargo Center.

  • Nick Sirianni- Round 1, Game 1 vs. Brooklyn Nets


    Who better than the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles fresh off a Super Bowl appearance?

    Nick Sirianni fired up the crowd for the playoff opener at the Wells Fargo Center on April 15. He unsurprisingly brought his children out to half court with him, and his brand new Sixers jacket made everyone forget to mention anything about him pandering to the fan base.

    The Sixers rolled the Brooklyn Nets 121-101 to take a 1-0 lead in the opening-round series.

  • Larry Bowa- Game 2, Round 1 vs. Brooklyn Nets

    Larry Bowa helped bring the Philadelphia Phillies their first ever World Series in 1980. Maybe the stroke of good luck will help the Sixers end a 30-year drought without a championship.

    The Sixers recovered from a slow start to take care of the Nets 96-84 to take a 2-0 lead over the Nets.

  • Jason Kelce- Game 3, Round 2 vs. Boston Celtics

    The John Kincade Show called Jason Kelce the most relatable athlete in Philadelphia sports history.

    The five-time NFL All-Pro ignited the fan base for the loudest Eagles chant the city has ever heard in 2018. His energy matched the pregame mood of the building for Game 3 of the Boston Celtics series when Joel Embiid received the NBA MVP Award.

    The Sixers couldn’t take advantage of the rowdy home crowd. The Celtics took a 2-1 series lead with a 114-102 victory.

  • Wanda Sykes- Game 4, Round 2 vs. Boston Celtics

    The Sixers brought back a previous bell ringer with Wanda Sykes before a critical Game 4 against the Celtics. The actor/comedian has become a local favorite in Media, PA when she’s not firing up the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.

    The Sixers pulled off a nailbiting, 116-115 overtime victory to even the series 2-2.

  • Questlove- Game 6, Round 2 vs. Boston Celtics

    Questlove got his start in the music industry in the city of Philadelphia. He is now the drummer for the Roots, and he set the tone for a potentially monumental night in the City of Brotherly Love when the Sixers had the opportunity to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001.

    The Sixers, unfortunately, couldn’t capitalize in a disappointing 95-86 loss. 

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