Blowing a 3-2 series lead to a hated rival is a special kind of Hell, one you wouldn’t wish on your enemy. What made Sunday so much worse for the long-suffering Philadelphia 76ers was how disastrous they performed when the lights shined brightest, shrinking like a frightened turtle amid a flurry of Jayson Tatum three-pointers, each long-range dagger more demoralizing than the last.
There’s a certain hopelessness in losing, though, as the 76ers would learn Sunday, hiding from it only makes things worse. After tweeting up a storm with the game up for grabs in the first half, the Sixers’ social media presence all but disappeared as the outcome became clearer, going dark before finally resurfacing with a “Thank You” graphic Monday morning, acknowledging all their fans that supported them throughout the season.
It didn’t end the way we wanted it to. Short of a title, it never does. But without our fans – the best in the league through all the ups and downs – we are nothing. Thank you for your support and passion. pic.twitter.com/IYdXDQhA7w
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 15, 2023
Admittedly, it’s much easier to tweet when you’re ahead, which obviously wasn’t the case Sunday with Boston’s lead at one point swelling to 30, humiliating the Sixers with as emphatic a second half as you’re likely to see in these playoffs. Still, it’s not a great look to hide under a rock for the better part of 24 hours, a seeming state of denial that, predictably, opened up the 76ers and their social media staff to widespread criticism.
I just realized the @Sixers twitter account never even posted the final score.. smh even the Twitter admin disappears in the 4th quarter! ??
— Justo (@Young_Justo) May 15, 2023
Wow what a close game! On the edge of my seat waiting for the 76ers twitter account to give us an update on how the rest of it went https://t.co/Oqhr5WsgJt
— Liv (@Liv_Agar) May 15, 2023
I think it would be hilarious if the 76ers Twitter account didn’t tweet until the 23-24 szn
— Paymar Grantum III (@Banner18loading) May 15, 2023
The Sixers twitter account is more embarrassing than the team which is a historic face plant
— Bun (@bunrxm) May 15, 2023
Sunday’s debacle was reminiscent of similar vanishing acts performed by the Texas Rangers and Georgia Football, taking a convenient “break” from tweeting amid painful losses to the San Diego Padres and South Carolina, respectively.
Though it’s unlikely to be framed that way, it’s a small miracle the Sixers made it as far as they did, scaring the Celts straight after taking their eye off the ball in Games 1, 4 and especially Game 5, an embarrassing rout that would serve as a much-needed reality check ahead of their Conference Finals rematch with Miami. The Celtics were, by all accounts, the more talented and complete team, a seasoned bunch molded by previous playoff disappointments including last year’s Finals loss to Golden State.
Of course, that’s of little solace to a team and fanbase facing an uncertain future with questions surrounding Doc Rivers’ job security as well as James Harden’s looming free agency. Like the tragic Greek figure Sisyphus, the Process Era Sixers seem destined to keep pushing the boulder up the hill, only to have it roll back to the bottom and continue the futile exercise for all eternity.