The Sixers are well aware of the history they're currently up against.
Of the 129 teams in NBA history to fall behind 3-0, none have ever come back to win a best-of-seven series.
"I think, and this interests me as much as anything, teams that are [up] 3-0 have a record of 129-0. Think about that," head coach Brett Brown pondered after the Sixers' 101-98 Game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics (see observations).
The Sixers don't have to look far to figure out how they got into this position. Poor defense, a failure to make shots and late-game mistakes have put them in a deep hole.
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All of those things will have to be addressed if the Sixers want to be the first franchise in the league's 71-year history to rally back from a 3-0 deficit.
"The number to me, zero, happens more out of spirit than talent," Brown said. "Like there's a breaking point we all have and I believe that if we can maintain our spirit, why couldn't we be the one, and I mean that. That's my goal with us. Fight, keep our mind believing some of what I said, I hope all of it, and let their bodies recover and give us a chance. That's all I know. I can't see any other way to approach this that makes sense to me and so that's what we're going to do."
"Next game, we've got to do better," Joel Embiid said. "That's a big one, win-or-go-home. Never been in this situation, so I'm excited. It's going be a good game, and I feel like it's going too be a different energy. When you know that this is your last chance, you always end up playing better."
You can chalk that up to guys simply putting on a brave face after a heartbreaking loss or a team in its first playoff run together that simply doesn't know any better. Either way, the Sixers understand that no one else will believe in them if they don't have the faith.
"I think the stat is 129-0 being down 3-0 in a series. We're just trying to be that one team that kind of breaks it up," T.J. McConnell said.