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The Sixers season ended in a whimper, and I don't know how to come to grips with that

The Sixers coming back from down 0-2 to beat the Heat was always going to be tough, so why did this one sting so much? It largely comes down to 2 reasons -- an unacceptable lack of effort and a frightening level of uncertainty.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The end of a postseason run is almost always going to bring with it anger and resentment, along with more than a little bit of panic, from the fan base. It all just comes to an end so suddenly. Only 48 before the tip of that dreadful Game 6 most of the discussion centered around how the Sixers were 6-2 in playoff games that Joel Embiid participated in, including a perfect 2-0 in the second-round series against the Heat.

But this loss to the Heat was, in some respects, the expected outcome. Before the series I predicted the Sixers would lose in six, citing Embiid missing the first two games and the uncertainty over how he would look once he returned as primary reasons. Both concerns turned out to be major factors in the series, as the Sixers lost the first two games in Miami, which left them with almost no margin for error from there on out, and Embiid looked like a shell of himself once he returned.

Even zooming out and looking at the bigger picture, in my podcasts after the Harden acquisition I gave the Sixers a sub 10% chance of winning the title this year, and placed them behind the Bucks and Heat as Eastern Conference favorites (this was before the Celtics got their shit together). This isn't a second-round loss to the very flawed Atlanta Hawks. Miami is legitimate.

If the outcome was expected, then why is it so frustrating, even now nearly 96 hours after watching it all unfold?

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