Philadelphia 76ers, one more win and they’re in!


The Philadelphia 76ers magic number is now one. A win or Detroit Pistons loss puts them into the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Philadelphia 76ers have a magic number of one. One win, or one loss by the Detroit Pistons, and the team is assured a place in the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs. Right now the team is the 4-seed. 1.5 games behind 3-seed Cleveland Cavaliers, and in a virtual dead heat with the Indiana Pacers for the 5-seed. There is little margin for error now.

But we’ve analyzed the Philadelphia 76ers mistakes at great length. We know they are inexperienced. That inexperience leads to turnovers, fouls and poor free throws. We know about them, and the Philadelphia 76ers win in spite of them. So for today, let’s turn the tables around. What do the Philadelphia 76ers do right? What about this team creates unique challenges for their NBA Playoff round one opponent?

Too new to trend

The first challenge for the NBA Playoff round one opponent is setting Philadelphia 76ers tendencies. In a win or go home, you have to expect the team to put their best on display. But no NBA team has faced the Philadelphia 76ers in that situation. So what will they do? Who will they go to?  Will Embiid shoot threes? Will Simmons drive to the basket?  Making the wrong assumptions about the Philadelphia 76ers can lead to drastic consequences.

But there are some historic trends this so far. The Philadelphia 76ers do not have a winning record against teams who play better than .500. And  the Philadelphia 76ers do not finish well in close games. Winning teams seemed to come at the Philadelphia 76ers early and often. With so many new faces on the roster, and rookie Ben Simmons at point guard, the team faced their stiffest competition at their worst.  But the 3-7 record in three-point games is a trend that cannot be pushed aside. Without a go-to-guy, the 76ers are still learning how to win close games in the NBA.

Tough to win four games against 76ers

Even with early struggles, and the historic excellence of such teams like the Boston Celtics or Toronto Raptors, the Philadelphia 76ers found a way to win. And that involved games where the team was still introducing team members to one another. Now that the 76ers have one of the best starting five lineups in the NBA, the 76ers are more on par with better teams in the NBA. After all, the team boasts incredible post play with center Joel Embiid, great point play from Ben Simmons, excellent perimeter shooting from J.J. Redick and Dario Saric, and incredible defense from Robert Covington.

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Even if a team jumps out to a 1-0 advantage against Philadelphia, this team is focused and impassioned enough to win the next one. Recall that Joel Embiid only needs to watch videos, and he can replicate moves on the basketball court the next day. That gives the Sixers a fighting chance to change tactics and counter any moves their NBA opponents make.  In the end, the Philadelphia 76ers are not quite an NBA Championship caliber team just yet. But this season’s playoff experience will go a long way in maturing the team. Once these players taste post season, you can bet they’ll want to get back.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Due to NBA Tiebreakers, losing all remaining NBA games by the Philadelphia 76ers and the Detroit Pistons winning all remaining games  have not clinched a playoff berth for the team. The true NBA Tiebreaking rules are found here. If the season ends in a two-way tie between Philadelphia and Detroit, Philadelphia is in. But there are scenarios where the 76ers could be in a multiple team tie at 42-40. The possibility remains in the wrong tie scenario, the Philadelphia 76ers do not advance.