The 76ers need to stop playing with their food

James Harden, Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
James Harden, Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia 76ers
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers have proven they can play with the top teams in the NBA. Now, they have to prove they can regularly defeat the dregs of the league on a consistent basis.

The Sixers dominant performance against the Kawhi Leonard/Paul George Clippers (if could not stay up, final score of 120-110 was misleading, L.A. scored 8 garbage points in final minute) showed they can take on the elite of the NBA successfully.

However, it is easy to get fired up to play a team with two All-Stars, in Los Angeles, in a game on national television. But most games are not like that, a team has to still be ready to play.

Can the Sixers defeat, say, the Washington WIzards, Charlotte Hornets, Oklahoma City Thunder or Houston Rockets? All these teams are either looking ahead for a chance to draft Victor Wembanyama or, if the cards fall right, make the Play-in tournament at best.

The Sixers have lost to all of these once already, and the Wizards twice!!

Remember, the successful road trip was preceded by a butt-kicking at the hands of the Thunder in its final home game.

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The Sixers are climbing up the Eastern Conference standings but, we all know the deal with that. Maddeningly, they will beat a good or elite teams, then lose to some team playing a bunch of rookies just trying to get the kids some experience.

(The exception is the Detroit Pistons, who it would be really tough to lose to).

If not for these bad losses to bad teams, the Sixers would be battling the Celtics for first place in the conference.

So what is the deal? Why do the Sixers, in effect, play with their food. Instead of swallowing them whole, they play around and let bad teams hang around, giving them confidence.

3 reasons the Philadelphia 76ers have problems with bad teams

3. Injuries – As old Eagles coach Andy Reid used to say in a brusque manner: Injuries.

As all fans know, pretty much every main Sixers player has been out for an extended amount of time. At one point, James Harden, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey were all out with injuries (and the team did really well, but that is the subject of another story)

The starting lineup and the sub rotation has had to constantly change, meaning it has been tough for the team to establish any continuity or the players to get some chemistry between themselves.

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if they face a bad team, but one that has played together a lot, that can present a problem. A depleted roster puts players in roles they are not used, and can make for some unfortunate offensive sets and, well, horrific defensive sets, like Georges Niang guarding people who are, like, fast and athletic (never a good thing).