- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 22, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — Before coach Doug Collins had his Philadelphia 76ers look ahead to Game 6, he had them rewind the tape to a dusty Game 7.

He slipped in a highlight video of Sixers vs. Celtics, Game 7, 1982 Eastern Conference final. Julius Erving and Larry Bird. Andrew Toney and Maurice Cheeks. Robert Parish and Kevin McHale.

The Sixers blew a 3-1 lead in that series and were forced to win Game 7 on the road to reach the finals - which they did.

The Sixers trail this season’s East semifinals 3-2 entering Wednesday’s Game 6 in Philadelphia. But Collins wanted to push the point that winning another Game 7 on the road can be done.

But first?

Game 6.

Collins received some advice from former and current coaches among his tight group of friends after the Celtics ran away late in a 101-85 Game 5 victory. The supportive messages all had the same theme:

“How bad do you want to go back for a Game 7,” Collins said Tuesday, “when the odds say you’re not going to win that.”

So, the coach ordered a history lesson before practice and showed the Sixers how winning Game 7 in Boston can be done.

“We have that same opportunity,” Collins said. “Let’s give ourselves that chance. Let’s get ourselves back to Boston with a Game 7 and see what we can do. Sometimes, I think it’s good to go back and let guys see the history of the franchise with Boston and Philly.”

The Sixers would love to add their own improbable victories to this longtime rivalry and knock out the Celtics. And this is in their favor: No team has won consecutive games in this series.

There’s more: Philadelphia is 4-0 this postseason in games following a loss. The Sixers won Game 2 and Game 6 in the first round against top-seeded Chicago and Game 2 and Game 4 vs. Boston.

All those statistics from this postseason - and the big wins from 30 years ago - will mean little, though, once the ball is tipped Wednesday.

“We’re on the edge right now,” Sixers forward Elton Brand said. “There’s no comfortable feelings anywhere around here.”

With good reason. Twice this series, the Celtics have routed the Sixers, including a dominant end to Game 5 that has them in control and a win away from reaching the Eastern Conference final.

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