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Reasons the Sixers lost

Posted by Eric Fisher On May 15

Why were the Sixers eliminated by the Celtics? PhillyPhanatics.com provides the Top 10 reasons for their second-round exit.

10. Overconfidence  After being eliminated in five games, this seems like an odd reason. Before the series began, however, most people picked the Sixers to win the series, with some, following the Sixers’ first-round win over the Heat, picking the Sixers to reach the NBA Finals. The Sixers were favored in every game of the Celtics series.

9. Embiid’s conditioning Nobody should blame Embiid for the Sixers’ elimination, but he never seemed to regain top-level conditioning after being sidelined by the broken left orbital bone.

8. Inexperience This was Ben Simmons’ first year of NBA action. It was Joel Embiid’s first full season of action. As good as they already are, it will take time for their games to fully develop. The Sixers’ worst moments came in crucial situations at the end of halves. With more playoff experience, mistakes in pressure situations should be reduced.

7. Fultz provides nothing Markelle Fultz, the top pick in last year’s NBA Draft, never got off the bench — except to cheer on his teammates — during this series. Enough said.

6. Covington’s woes Robert Covington’s shooting was horrendous. The Sixers improved dramatically when Brett Brown replaced Covington in the starting lineup with T.J. McConnell. Despite Brown’s insistence to the contrary, Covington wasn’t great on defense, either, losing his man on back-door cuts on several occasions.

5. Coaching This isn’t intended as an indictment of Brett Brown, but Brad Stevens clearly gave the Celtics an edge in coaching. The Celtics executed better during key situations, and Stevens created game plans to neutralize Ben Simmons and JJ Redick (in Game 5) on offense, and to draw Joel Embiid away from the basket on defense.

4. Turnovers This was a problem for the Sixers for most of the season. Turnovers plagued the Sixers at crucial junctures of this series, such as the end of regulation and overtime during their Game 3 defeat.

3. The draft day trade Not only did Markelle Fultz give the Sixers nothing during this series (see Reason No. 7), but Jayson Tatum, selected third overall after the Sixers and Celtics flipped draft picks in the first round of last year’s NBA Draft, was a consistent 20-point machine and a major force throughout the series. Celtics GM Danny Ainge fleeced the Sixers in this trade.

2.  Simmons struggles The Celtics played off Ben Simmons and dared him to shoot. He was limited to one point during Game 2. In other games, Simmons scored on drives to the basket, but he couldn’t consistently make shots from beyond 6-8 feet, so the Celtics didn’t cover him closely away from the basket.

1. Celtics are better The Celtics were the better overall team. The Sixers might have the stars with the most upside, but, right now, the Celtics are a better all-around team. The scary part is that the Celtics are better than the Sixers even though they were missing injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

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