Ed. Note: I’d like to welcome Danny Solis, founder of ballb4all.net, as the newest contributor to the site! He has a wealth of experience in writing about the NBA in general – I highly suggest you check out his website. You can follow him on Twitter @foodfordaniel, though you’ll have to urge him to tweet first.
Seven crucial games are left to a season that began with nothing but energy and aspirations. The Sixers shocked both their fanbase and the league in January, posting a record of 15-6. They continued this run, holding the Atlantic Division by the horns, with a respectable record of 20-9 midway through February.
But then, right before our very eyes – the drought began. Losing streaks, sloppy play, the gushing metabolism that this young squad once carried is now lost. Philadelphia fans have been here before, with the last eight seasons resulting in first-round exits or no playoff appearances at all. But this season and this current turmoil hits home for Philly fans. This was a season that began with excitement and a pulse that was felt all throughout the league because of this young team’s hard work and willingness to listen to a coach that embodied that resilient ethic.
With just seven games left to play, the Sixers are on the verge of heading into another lottery draft position, instead of a playoff seeding. The Milwaukee Bucks are making moves, holding one of the most dangerous backcourts in the league behind both Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings.
The Bucks are more than ready to steal the eighth seed from Philadelphia at this point and the chances of this happening are more than real, with Philly playing 7 out of their last 8 games on the road. After following the Sixers for more than a decade, here are my separate estimates of their winning chances in each game:
Monday, April 16th: @ Orlando Magic
The Sixers receive a blessing heading into this meeting. After their disgraceful loss to the Nets for the second time this season, they will head to Florida to luckily face the Magic without Dwight Howard. The recent reports say Howard will be sidelined for at least two weeks, allowing Philly to take on a Magic team that heavily relies on the three-point shot. Philly has lost two out of three against Orlando this season, but will look to come out strong after their recent loss. The Sixers will have their close calls against the Magic in this game, but should ultimately pick up a win barring a sensational shooting night coming from Ryan Anderson, Jameer Nelson or J.J. Redick.
Chances of winning: 64%
Tuesday, April 17th: Indiana Pacers
Indiana is a different story. The Pacers have been streaking with nothing but wins lately, posting an 8-2 record in their last 10 heading into Saturday night. They’ve lost and won against the Sixers this season, but could be without their injured starting point guard, Darren Collison. Philadelphia will certainly look to make the most out of their final home game of the season though, making this an interesting watch in the fourth quarter.
Chances of winning: 58%
Wednesday, April 18th: @ Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs aren’t quite tanking their season away for the unibrow sensation that is Anthony Davis, but they’re not winning either. Cleveland’s talented rookie, Kyrie Irving will hopefully be sidelined for this one with a sprained shoulder, but there’s still the chance he’ll return. The Sixers have healthy opportunity here to earn a road win against the Cavs, a team they’ve defeated by double-digits twice this season.
Chances of winning: 78%
Saturday, April 21st: @ Indiana Pacers
Indiana carries a proud home record of 20-8 this season. Whether they win or lose four days before meeting Philly again, they would love to put them out of their misery with a dominating win. The Pacers can also be a dangerous group that heavily relies on players such as Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert to do their dirty work. Philadelphia could be headed for a loss here, unless they find their groove on offense and hustle on the other side of the floor.
Chances of winning: 47%
Monday, April 23rd: @ New Jersey Nets
The plot thickens as the Sixers head to New Jersey once again to take on the Nets. With Deron Williams, the Nets have made it clear they’re here to spoil Philadelphia’s post-season hopes. The Sixers have lost two out of three against the Nets this season and can’t seem to put these guys in their place. Look for New Jersey to put another scare to Philly, as they head into their final two games of the season. Philadelphia carries more athletic talent than New Jersey on paper, but we can only hope they execute when the time comes.
Chances of winning: 71%
Wednesday, April 25th: @ Milwaukee Bucks
This could easily shape up to become the biggest game of the season for Philly. The Bucks have been the ultimate shadow behind the Sixers’ playoff seeding. Milwaukee is packed with explosiveness and will be looking to punch them right in the mouth behind their homecourt advantage. The Sixers will need to put together one of their strongest outings with the season on the brink.
Chances of winning: 62%
Thursday, April 26th: @ Detroit Pistons
Philadelphia caps off their entertaining season off with a matchup against Detroit. The Pistons are known to have their many flaws, ranking close to last in points, rebounds and assists per game this year. Detroit relies on players such as Ben Gordon and Greg Monroe. Their rookie, Brandon Knight has also shown flashes of greatness this season. The Sixers should be able to bag a win in this contest despite being away from home.
Chances of winning: 75%
Topics: Anthony Davis, Brandon Jennings, Brandon Knight, Danny Granger, Darren Collison, Deron Williams, Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Kyrie Irving, Monta Ellis, Roy Hibbert, Ryan Anderson