The NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers have been the most frequent offenders of losing in win-or-go-home games.
It’s been 22 years since the Sixers have captured a Game 7 victory, as they knocked off the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks during the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals and Eastern Conference Finals, respectively. Since then, the team has lost four straight Game 7s, all coming over the last 11 years.
As a No. 8 seed during the 2012 playoffs, Philadelphia shocked the top dog Chicago Bulls in the first round before falling to the fourth-seeded Boston Celtics in a seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinals. It would be another six years before the Sixers tasted the playoffs, as the organization told fans to “Trust the Process.”
After losing in a five-game conference semifinals series in 2018, the recent run of Game 7 defeats picked up again in 2019. MVP Joel Embiid and company fell to the Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals that year in devastating fashion, as Kawhi Leonard hit the game-winning, fadeaway buzzer-beater.
The Sixers were swept out of the NBA Bubble by the Celtics in the first round in 2020 before entering the 2021 postseason as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers defeated the Washington Wizards in the first round before being stunned by the Atlanta Hawks in the conference semifinals.
Philadelphia dropped Toronto in the first round over six games in 2022 before the Miami Heat eliminated them in a six-game conference semifinal series. The Sixers swept the Brooklyn Nets in the opening round last spring before falling to the Celtics in a seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinals. The loss to Boston closed what was a particularly heartbreaking stretch for sports fans in Philadelphia.
The NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers haven’t been to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2020 and haven’t won a Game 7 since 2011 when they dropped the Buffalo Sabres in the conference quarterfinals. The Flyers were then swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in the conference semifinals.
Their next Game 7 opportunity came in the first round of the 2014 postseason against the New York Rangers, which ended in a 2-1 defeat.
The Flyers lost in six games during the opening round of both the 2016 and 2018 tournaments. They dropped the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 2020 playoffs before losing to the New York Islanders in seven contests in the second round.
Philly fans will never have to worry about their favorite NFL team, the Eagles, losing in a Game 7 situation, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been exempt from crushing losses. Quarterback Jalen Hurts and company had a second-half lead on the Kansas City Chiefs during Super Bowl LVII in February but saw Patrick Mahomes lead a comeback.
The Eagles and Chiefs are tied for the best record in football this season (6-1), while the Flyers are 3-2-1 to start the 2023-24 campaign. The 76ers tip off their regular season on Thursday.
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