Sixers vs Celtics: The ultimate game 7 survival guide

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Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden (1) shoots against Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown (7) and Jayson Tatum (0) during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference semifinal, Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Game 7. Sixers vs Celtics. Tonight could well be the most chaotic game of Sixers basketball in recent memory, although there are plenty to choose from during the process era. From the Kawhi heartbreaker to whatever happened against Altanta, Philly has had more than its fair share of playoff letdowns. Here’s how you can survive tonight’s assumed mania.

With the thin margins separating each team still fighting in the playoffs, the bloodbath between the Sixers and Cs has been the closest race in the semifinal round by far. Not only is it the only series to go the full seven games, but five of the first six battles were also won by 12 or fewer points.

There are several heavy clouds hanging over the heads of Sixers fans heading into this matchup: Head Coach Doc Rivers’s penchant for blowing postseason series leads, Philadelphia’s aversion to making it past the second round of the playoffs in “the Process” era, James Harden’s history in Game 7s, etc.

Philadelphia sports fans have already garnered a reputation for maybe overly relying on the success of their teams to carry their overall emotional well-being. With the way things went down with the Eagles, Union, and Phillies in this last year, there’s no doubt that Sixers fans are carrying a tremendous amount of stress into this Game 7. I’ve taken the liberty of providing a few tips below to help Philly fans best prepare for later.

1. Spend time with the mothers in your life

Whether the Philadelphia 76ers win or lose, it will still be Mother’s Day. Take time before and after the game to truly appreciate and express gratitude to all of the mothers in your life. This process will help ground you to the world outside of the Sixers and sports in general. For those of you who have mothers who are equally as invested in Game 7, be sure you do some non-basketball-related activities beforehand, as well.

Go out to brunch, get flowers, tailgate so hard you won’t remember the outcome of the game in case it goes bad, or maybe even take a nice early-morning drive to Boston where you could find Marcus Smart and convince him that he needs to be the hero of the game and take the most shots for the Celtics or else they’ll lose; there are plenty of different ways to celebrate the mothers in our lives that don’t directly relate to the Sixers.

Philadelphia 76ers’ Georges Niang (20) reacts after making a shot against Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference semifinal, Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

For those who plan on celebrating mothers after the game, maybe change your plans just in case, unless your favorites moms enjoy the following activities: TV smashing, street riots, hours long introspection reflecting upon the fact that basketball is simply a game played by a species of animal that will likely cease to exist or be remembered within a millennia or so.

Regardless, if you’re able to take time tomorrow to watch Game 7, be sure to thank the relevant mothers who allowed you the three hours you needed to take out of their special day in order to experience either one of the greatest joys or seething pains of your life thus far.

2. Practice meditation before the game

Meditation can be a very powerful practice. It’s been proven to help lower resting heart rate, can positively impact blood pressure, and even build better sleep habits. Depending on the topic you choose to focus on during your time of reflection, it can help you find a solution to a problem, come to a better understanding, or even gain self-awareness.

While regular meditation can certainly be beneficial for a Sixers fan preparing for Game 7 — as I’m sure the average heart rate and blood pressure of a Philadelphia lifer could use improvement — but the kind of meditation that might be most helpful in this scenario is a spiritual one.

For example, zen meditation is meant to help the participant clear their mind and stop the stream of conscious thought. This is an important step towards the goal of finding inner peace. Being able to detach ourselves from thoughts that either trouble us or keep us involved in certain things that may prevent us from being the best version of ourselves is crucial for finding tranquility.

Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart reacts after being fouled during the second half of Game 6 of the team’s NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference semifinal against the Philadelphia 76ers, Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Try to grasp zen meditation before turning on Game 7, as it may help you dissipate harmful thoughts such as “why is Doc Rivers inserting Danuel House Jr. before Jalen McDaniels again?” or “How are the Sixers losing when Jayson Tatum is 8-24 from the field?” or “I swear, if Tobias Harris bricks another contested midrange jumper, I’m going to buy out every single jersey of his available just so I can start a fire so large at the Wells Fargo Center that it gains national attention.”

Another option is “Koan” meditation which involves asking oneself questions that are paradoxes or don’t necessarily have a correct answer. The BBC states as an example: “A well-known koan is ‘In clapping both hands a sound is heard; what is the sound of one hand?‘”

This process is meant to test one’s resolve and mental fortitude, in preparation for when one encounters a problem that is similarly difficult.

Here’s a good one to try to wrap your mind around before the game tips off: “Would it be more typical for this Sixers team to win a game that absolutely nobody expects them to win or to utterly wet their collective pants in the most important game of the season, on a holiday, in the 3:30 PM Eastern Time slot on a Sunday?”

While it seems impossible, truly figuring out the answer to that question might just lead you to enlightenment, in which you will transcend the mundanities of this world such as the Sixers wasting an MVP season from Joel Embiid.

3. Prepare a light snack in a crockpot

3:30 PM Eastern is pretty weird time to have a game or host a viewing of one. It’s too early for a full-on dinner, but late enough in the afternoon where most of the audience will be willing to eat. Preparing something in a slow cooker in the morning will ensure that you have plenty of time to mentally prepare for the game without having to actively cook and that you and all your guests will have a delightful snack during the proceedings. Something like a Rotel dip or meatballs should be perfect.

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AP Photo/Matt Slocum