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NBA Philadelphia 76ers

5 Games that Cost Philadelphia 76ers a Postseason Berth

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Five Games Why 76ers Missed Playoffs

Five
Debby Wong - USA Today Sports

When the Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated from postseason contention, they trailed the eighth place Milwaukee Bucks by five games. Even though eighth place in the Eastern Conference would mean a likely first round sweep against the Miami Heat, you never root for your team not to make the playoffs.

The Sixers were an eight seed last year when they stunned the Chicago Bulls (albeit without superstar Derrick Rose). That series win, along with pushing the Boston Celtics to the brink in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, brought excitement back to the city of Philadelphia in the basketball world.

As a fan, this year has been extremely frustrating to watch. Everyone was waiting for the savior Andrew Bynum to step on the court and guide the 76ers to the promise land. Sadly, he never played one game with the team and likely never will. A roster of mediocre players was forced to try and step up without the player this team was supposed to be built around.

We learned a lot, good and bad, about the future of the 76ers from watching this season unfold. Jrue Holiday is a true All-Star, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young have the capability of forming a serviceable front court and many players (Nick Young, Dorrell Wright and Lavoy Allen to name a few) have done nothing to warrant a spot in the rotation next year.

Nonetheless, this team was still only five games out of a postseason berth with nine games remaining. Anything could happen as long as you get to the playoffs; look at last year as proof enough for that.

Going back through the schedule, there were many games that were extremely frustrating to watch. But there were also a handful of games where the Sixers simply gave the game away. With that being said, here are the top five games that cost the 76ers a playoff berth.

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March 13 2013 Miami Heat 98 Philadelphia 76ers 94

MIA
Howard Smith - USA Today Sports

I wouldn’t say the Sixers blew this game by any stretch, but this was a game where the Heat were looking to become the fourth team to win 20-straight games in a single season and they decided to take the 76ers lightly. The crowd was behind the team on this one and the Sixers battled to the end. Up one, Dwayne Wade was able to score on the third opportunity of the possession, and the Heat were able to steal what would have been a statement win for the 76ers.

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January 21 2013 San Antonio Spurs 90 Philadelphia 76ers 85

SAS
Howard Smith - USA Today Sports

On this night, the Sixers were down 17 at one point and came roaring all the way back to take a seven-point lead. Again the fans were behind them looking for a huge statement win. Still early in the season, with hopes of Andrew Bynum suiting up soon, a win against the San Antonio Spurs would have been great. Instead, the Spurs closed the game on a 15-2 run as the 76ers missed nine out of their final ten shots. A lack of a closer in the fourth quarter bit the Sixers hard again.

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January 28 2013 Memphis Grizzles 103 Philadelphia 76ers 100

MEM
Howard Smith - USA Today Sports

With yet another chance to beat a playoff team at home and prove to the league they should be taken seriously, the 76ers simply gave one away on this night. They had a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter that was erased fairly quickly. They showed resiliency in a back-and-fourth fourth quarter. But after Rudy Gay hit a jumper to put the Memphis Grizzlies up one, Thaddeus Young missed a bunny that would have given his team the lead, and that’s all she wrote.

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April 3 2013 Philadelphia 76ers 83 Charlotte Bobcats 88

CHA
Sam Sharpe - USA Today Sports

The last chance for the 76ers to make the playoffs came to a burning halt when they lost to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats. After beating the Bobcats handily in their last game, the 76ers came out flat on the road like they have all year and let the Bobcats crush their playoff hopes. With the Milwaukee Bucks losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves that night, the 76ers had a chance to cut the deficit to four games. Instead, Jrue Holiday decided to shoot 2-for-24 and Evan Turner turned the ball over on the in-bound pass with the 76ers only down one.

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March 21 2013 Philadelphia 76ers 100 Denver Nuggets 101

DEN
Chris Humphreys - USA Today Sports

By far, the epitome of the 76ers woes was summed up on this night against the Denver Nuggets. A team that has won nine games on the road all year had a legitimate chance to beat a team that is 36-3 at home this year. The 76ers were up five with 9.2 seconds to play when Corey Brewer buried a three to cut the lead to two. Evan Turner was fouled with 7.1 seconds left with a chance to ice the game; instead he missed both free throws. Brewer came off of a curl and was fouled hard by Damien Wilkins on a 3-point attempt. He drained all three free throws and the Nuggets won the game. It came down to execution and the clutch gene and the 76ers pretty much have had neither of those all year, which is why they will be sitting home come playoff time.

Zach Slotter is a writer for www.rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page, or add him to your network on Google.