After collecting their worst loss of the 2022 NBA Playoff run in Game 5 on the road against the Miami Heat, the Philadelphia 76ers had their backs against the wall in South Philly on Thursday night for Game 6.
The Sixers knew what was at stake on Thursday night. Therefore, they were expected to show a lot more fight than they did in their 35-point loss on Tuesday night.
In the first quarter of Thursday's game, the Sixers certainly still had life. While they didn't have a high-percentage shooting quarter, the Sixers trailed just three points through the first 12 minutes.
And when the second quarter rolled around, the Sixers outscored the Heat. Going into halftime, it was a tight matchup. Unlike Tuesday night's game, the Sixers were just one point behind and had an opportunity to steal the lead in and have a big second half to force another matchup.
However, they simply didn't have it in them. With a 25-15 run by the Miami Heat in the third quarter, the Sixers started slipping. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, they trailed 74-63.
When the fourth quarter approached, the Sixers relied on some unlikely prospects to claw their way back into the matchup as Shake Milton, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris kept them fighting. Unfortunately, their 27-point rally was countered by decent shooting and a 25-point showing by the Heat, who maintained their big lead.
The Sixers needed more from their stars Joel Embiid and James Harden in the elimination game, but it's clear that fatigue and a lack of aggressiveness affected their performance. For Embiid, he chucked up 24 shots, but drained just seven baskets for 20 points in 44 minutes of action.
As for Harden, he attempted less than ten shots in 42 minutes. When the game wrapped up, he finished the night with just 11 points. The Sixers' season ended with a 99-90 loss. With that win for the Heat, they'll advance to the Eastern Conference Finals where they'll face either the Boston Celtics or the Milwaukee Bucks.
For the Sixers, they head into the offseason with some concerns as they went out in the second round for the second-straight season.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.