With the lockout-shortened NBA season, teams have been forced to play 66 games in approximately 4 months. Having that many games is such a small amount of time means that players have little time to rest and relax in between games. The two day break the Sixers have right now is a welcome reprieve from the insanity.
However, the break ends tomorrow, and they don’t get another one for a while. Monday night marks the beginning of the Sixers’ second back-to-back-to-back of the season, an honor only 10 teams have had bestowed on them. In the first, the Sixers went 2-1, with two home wins followed by a loss in New York. The travel wasn’t awful, and the second game (against Sacramento) was a 27 point blowout. The tired legs seemingly arrived in New York at the time (I was on a work trip and missed the game, but from reports the Sixers just lacked energy throughout).
This trip is a little different. It contains the final home game of the year, versus Indiana, in the middle of games in Orlando and in Cleveland. The Sixers fly to Florida tonight, then board a jet after the game tomorrow back here, then another jet to Cleveland after the Indiana game. I haven’t traveled much, but I imagine that much flying in such a short time can wear on the human body. Add in that the first two games should be tough to win, and we could be in for a 1-2 or 0-3 stretch pretty easily, just based on the demands of the schedule. Orlando and Indiana have pretty good records, too.
Luckily, we also get some breaks. Cleveland’s in tanking mode – without their two best players, that’s a very winnable third game. Orlando will be missing at least Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu (and likely Glen Davis as well, if his injury tonight is as serious as it seems). And Indiana will be on a back-to-back of their own, flying from home. The Sixers also beat the Pacers earlier this year at Wells Fargo – it was the first game of the first B2B2B. So the games are still very winnable.
In all likelihood, the results will come down to whether the Sixers want to play well or not. That’s a question I have no answers for.