So I mentioned what I figured would happen to the Sixers over the course of 7 games. In that stretch, they faced the Magic, Bulls, Heat, Hawks, Lakers, Spurs, and Clippers. Now, I fully expected them to win at least 3 of them. Let’s do a quick review. They beat the Magic, then the Bulls. That’s 2 wins. They lost to the Heat. 2-1. After that, I was pretty much convinced that the Sixers were legit. They beat the Hawks. 3-1. Then they beat the Lakers. 4-1. But then the Sixers seemed to really slow down in their losses to the Spurs and Clippers. You could say that the Sixers may have trouble with good PG’s since Tony Parker and Chris Paul had their way with the Sixers. Derrick Rose didn’t cause a lot of problems for the Sixers though (at least not enough for Sixers to lead by 20+ points).
In these games, I think we can all agree that the biggest problems the Sixers have is rebounding, stopping guard penetration, and free throws. The Iso game obviously doesn’t work for this team. We just don’t have any rebounding. Also, the free throws are just amazing. Are they even trying? You would think that this team would learn their lesson from last season. How many losses were at the end of a close game and were the result of missed FREE throws. Yeah, they’re free. Their performance this and last season is really unacceptable. Until they have a significant improvement in that area, close games will pile up in more losses. It’s a real shame that a simple concept like that can’t be mastered.
Of course, I also have to state that the Sixers are the real deal. Whenever they face a team, I expect them to win. This isn’t some, “I hope they can sneak this win out”. No. I fully expect them to win games now. It’s been a very long time since I felt this way. The Sixers seem to have serious problems vs the Heat. I still can’t figure out what they can do. Both meetings saw them keeping it close before finally giving out in the 4th. So, it’s not like the Sixers don’t stand a chance. But, something is obviously killing the Sixers even after a solid performance. Still, the other 28 teams are beatable in my book for this team.
I still think Sixers will win their division. I also think they will win their first round match-up in the playoffs. This was a “maybe” feeling before the games but now I’m more confident in this. I do have to say there is something lurking in the back of my mind. And that something is that the team will not be able to make the leap into elite status. Also, I feel that Sixers were able to take advantage of the schedule this season. Yup. I actually am not confident enough to believe this will continue next season. I’ll save that for another post though.
So yes the Sixers are no longer the team that can sneak in a win. Teams are now prepping their A-game. So now teams will come out with more fire. Technically, you should bring your A-game each night but teams don’t do that, and that’s where upsets normally come from. Sixers won’t be upsetting much anymore. Now, they can be upset. This is new ground for this team as most of the players on this team are: Too young and spent most of their careers with Sixers (Holiday, Young, Williams, Vucevic, Allen, Turner, Meeks, and Brackins). Also, Elton Brand wasn’t on a lot of good teams. Iguodala was only on one winning team, and that team was on its last leg. So, just about all of the Sixers on this team have never been part of a great team. It’ll be interesting how long they can keep up this level of play. Will they get better as the season goes on? Either way, Sixers are now officially a team that you just can’t sleep on.