NBA Crush of the Week: No. 8-Seeded Philadelphia 76ers

Michael KeefeContributor IIIMay 11, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 10: Andre Iguodala #9 and Spencer Hawes #00 of the Philadelphia 76ers walk off the court after a 79-78 win over the Chicago Bulls in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on May 10, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

This week's Crush of the Week was an easy one to pick. Thursday night, the Philadelphia 76ers, the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, defeated the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in Game 6, ending the Bulls' season.

Sure, the Bulls were without their All-Star point guard and MVP candidate Derrick Rose, who tore his ACL in the first game of the series. They were still a team that was good enough to earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference while missing Rose for a significant amount of the regular season.

The win for the Sixers marked the fifth time in NBA history that the top seed in a conference has fallen to the bottom seed. The most recent example came last season, when the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies defeated the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in a ridiculously entertaining series.

Other than that, it happened in 2007, when Baron Davis led the Golden State Warriors over the Dallas Mavericks; 1999, when the New York Knicks beat up the Miami Heat; and 1994, when Dikembe Mutombo and the Denver Nuggets beat the Seattle SuperSonics. 

Regardless of the injury problems the Bulls were facing, this is still clearly a significant moment in the history of the NBA. Any time a team like the Sixers, who barely made the playoffs, can oust a real championship contender, it's big news. 

It was truly unfortunate for the Bulls, and for the fans of the NBA, that Rose went down with the injury when he did. However, like I said before, the Bulls missed Rose for almost half of the season and still managed to be the top seed in the conference. A team doesn't earn the top seed solely because of one player, but because of the ability of the entire roster to make a contribution on the court. 

In this series, nobody on the Bulls made a contribution. When Rose fell to the ground near the end of Game 1, all the wind left the Bulls' sails. They clearly never recovered. Add Rose's injury to the loss of emotional leader Joakim Noah later in the series, and the Bulls just couldn't pull through. 

The Sixers still had to put the work in to beat the best team in the conference, even if their best player was hurt. The Bulls still had plenty of talent on their roster, but the Sixers sensed that the Bulls were wounded and they made sure not to get overconfident. 

The Sixers were led throughout the series by veterans Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, who used their playoff experience to guide the team. They also got major contributions from other members of the team, like Spencer Hawes, who carried the team through Games 3 and 4 with 21 points and nine rebounds and 22 points and eight rebounds respectively. 

It was a great team win for a Philadelphia team that didn't even know if they'd be playing in the postseason with a week left to go in the regular season. Although the Bulls were wounded, they were still the top dog in the Eastern Conference.

That is, until they met this week's Crush, the Philadelphia 76ers.