PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The 2011-12 Sixers were one of five NBA teams to pull the most unlikely of upsets.
Their first round playoff series against the Bulls pitted them against the number one seeded Chicago Bulls, led by 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose. Though the Sixers had begun the lockout-shortened season on fire, they ended as the eight and final playoff seed, with a 35-31 record.
But a torn ACL helped allow them to make history. Two years later, four members from that Sixers team are set to make history again, one way or another.
The Sixers defeated the Bulls in six games, behind two game-ending made free throws by Andre Iguodala in the deciding game at the Wells Fargo Center.
Lou Williams and Elton Brand, two members of this year’s Atlanta Hawks, and Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen, two members of this year’s Indiana Pacers, were on the 2011-12 Sixers. The Hawks are the Eastern Conference’s eight seed in this year’s playoffs, and are up against the number one seeded Pacers.
After a late season-swoon has continued into the playoffs from Indiana, the Hawks lead the series two games to one. If the Hawks end up winning the best of seven series, Williams and Brand will become the first two players ever to be on two eighth seeded teams that defeated number one seeded teams. As well, Turner and Allen would be the first players ever to be on both the winning and losing sides of an eight over one upset.
There have only been five eight seeded teams to defeated top seeds in the NBA playoffs. The Sixers in 2012, the 2011 Memphis Grizzlies, the 2007 Golden State Warriors, and the 1994 Nuggets. The 1999 Knicks were also winners in a work-stoppage shortened season, and eventually made it all the way to the NBA Finals before they lost to the Spurs.
Thanks to @NeubeckNBA who actually did the research on this.