We all recently witnessed one of the biggest collapses in NBA history courtesy of the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers were up by 26 points at one point in Game 5 against the Atlanta Hawks.
They were up on the Hawks heading into the fourth quarter by 18 points.
However, the lead dissipated and the Hawks won the game.
The 76ers had a 97.5% chance of winning Game 5 with 4:23 remaining.
Then, this happened 😳⤵️ pic.twitter.com/LXYUEjtpxi
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 17, 2021
This was the 76ers’ second straight choke in the fourth quarter.
Now the Hawks are up 3-2 in the series.
After being the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, the 76ers are looking like they might be out before the Conference Finals again.
This collapse was epic.
Nobody expected all of this to happen.
This team might never be the same again.
Why did this choke job happen?
Here are three reasons why this all went down.
3. Tobias Harris Disappears
The highest paid player on the 76ers roster currently is Tobias Harris.
However, he only scored four points in this must-win game.
In the second half:
Tobias Harris 0-4 FG
Ben Simmons 0-1 FG, 2-6 FT
Only Joel Embiid and Seth Curry made a field goal for the Sixers after halftime. pic.twitter.com/q1cqEBCdcx
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 17, 2021
Harris was a no show.
In fact, he did not score a single point in the second half.
He is supposed to be the second scorer behind Joel Embiid.
That has not been the case.
Embiid is dealing with a slightly torn meniscus right now and needs the help from Harris.
Instead he did not show up for Game 5 at home.
Four points is unacceptable for a player that believed he was an All-Star this season.
2. The Doc Rivers History
When the 76ers fired Brett Brown and replaced him with Doc Rivers; all of Philadelphia rejoiced.
The belief was that Rivers would bring a different approach to a team that seemed stagnant.
That was reinforced with a number one seed and an MVP season for Embiid.
We are now seeing why Rivers was out of job when the Los Angeles Clippers let him go.
There is a history with him and the playoffs.
It is a history that is not good whatsoever.
Doc Rivers’ Playoff History since winning title with 4 HOFs in Boston: pic.twitter.com/ibIaEFH6hI
— Giants Daily (@NYGDaily) June 17, 2021
He is prone to blow leads in games and in series.
We saw last postseason, where those same Clippers blew a 3-1 lead.
Each of those final games had them leading by double-digits at one point throughout the game.
Now with the 76ers it has been the same story.
For two straight games, we have seen a big blown lead that has led to a loss.
The series is heading back to Atlanta and the 76ers are in danger.
This is the Rivers affect all over again.
Maybe this team can avoid his history from repeating itself once again.
1. Ben Simmons
The worst part about this game, other than the blown lead, was Ben Simmons being putrid.
People have had such high hopes for Simmons since he entered the league.
He has been great at times and even finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting.
His offense is another story with so many issues that need to be addressed.
The shooting, or lack thereof, has been the biggest talking point about his struggles.
It is not that he can’t shoot, but he refuses to shoot.
At 6-foot-10 and playing the point guard position, he should be able to score on smaller players.
However, he does not due to an inability to shoot free throws.
Simmons was the target of a hacking technique, which is usually used for big men.
This worked as he shot 4-14 from the free-throw line.
Free throws missed, 2020 playoffs:
Ben Simmons, 45
Atlanta Hawks, 35
Phoenix Suns, 29
Brooklyn Nets, 22
Simmons is also the first player this season – regular or playoffs – to miss 10 in a game, after going 4 for 14 tonight.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) June 17, 2021
One of best attributes to scoring for him is driving to the lane.
He can’t do it now due to his confidence being fractured and not wanting to shoot free throws.
Simmons is terrified of the free-throw line.
The only option is to bench him in the fourth quarter.
You cannot keep putting him out there to be a zero on offense.