The 76ers and Celtics tipped off game one of their last playoff series on May 12, 2012. If you recall, this was the first lockout season since 1998-99 and also the season where the Wade-LeBron-Bosh Miami Heat would ultimately defeat the Westbrook-Harden-Durant Thunder in the NBA Finals.
In the offseason, Dwane Casey and Mark Jackson were hired as coaches of the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors, respectively.
During the season, Mike D'Antoni "resigned" from the New York Knicks head coaching position and Nate McMillan was fired from his post as coach of the Blazers.
The Rip Hamilton iteration of the Chicago Bulls clinched home court advantage for the entire postseason with 50 wins and 1st place in the east (over Miami's Big Three.)
This was the penultimate playoff series before the unofficial breakup of Boston's Big-Three. Ray Allen left in the postseason and then a year later KG and Pierce were traded to Brooklyn.
This also marked the last time the Sixers would enter the playoffs (let alone agianst the Celtics) until...tonight.
2012 Playoff Celtics
PG: Rondo (14.1 PTS, 12.7 AST, 7.4 REB, 2.1 STL)
SG: Ray Allen (8.9 PTS, 3.7 REB)
SF: Paul Pierce (17.7 PTS, 7.4 REB, 3.3 AST)
PF: Brandon Bass (14 PTS, 4.6 REB)
C: Kevin Garnett (19.7 PTS, 11 REB)
Bench: Mickael Pietrus, Keyon Dooling, Ryan Hollins
Avery Bradley started first 4 games, Ray Allen didn't start until game 5 as he dealt all postseason with bone spurs in his ankle.
Etwuan Moore was a newly drafted bench player (look up minutes/contributions)
Finished 4th in the east (39-27), winning their division title.
2012 Playoff 76ers
PG: Jrue Holiday (13.9 PTS, 4.3 REB, 5.6 AST, 1.7 STL)
SG: Andre Iguodala (13.7 PTS, 5.6 REB, 3.9 AST, 1.1 STL)
SF: Evan Turner (10.7 PTS, 8.6 REB, 2.1 AST, 1.1 STL)
PF: Elton Brand (9.1 PTS, 4.3 REB)
C: Spencer Hawes (7.4 PTS, 5.4 REB)
Bench: Lou Wiliams, Thaddeus Young, Jodie Meeks, Nikola Vucevic
Boston won game seven, 85 to 75.
After the matchup, then-current Sixers head coach Doug Collins said:
“I don’t look at them as the Big Three,” Collins said. “I look at them as a ‘Championship Four.’ If you’re going to leave Rondo out, you’re making a huge mistake because that guy’s the motor that drives this team.”
Ironically, there's plenty of current NBA players littered on other teams recently eliminated or currently competing in the playoffs: Thaddeus Young (IND), Evan Turner (POR), Jrue Holiday (NOP), Rajon Rondo (NOP), E'Twaun Moore (NOP), Andre Iguodala (GSW),
Precursor to Game 1 of PHI v. BOS, 2018 Playoffs
Gone are the stars of yesterday and new blood has been injected into this new iteration of the deep rivalry between Philly and Boston.
Unfortunately Kyrie and Hayward are out for the remainder of this season which lessens the potential Hardwood Classic factor, but watching Embiid and Simmons face off with Celtics future mainstays Tatum and Brown (whenever he returns), will be tantilizing to say the least. The burden of responsibilty will be on Al Horford to pull out all of his swiss-army knife accessories and plug in the holes the Celtics will face.
These two teams are actually poised to wreak havoc on the eastern conference for at least the next 5 years, irrespective of LeBron's decision after the conclusion of this season. Don't be surprised if this series serves as the dawn of a new era.