The Philadelphia 76ers had a few winnable games after the All-Star break, but couldn’t take advantage. The Sixers really needed to beat the likes of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards before their schedule got tougher. But since they didn’t, the Sixers are paying the price as the brutal part of March begins.
The Sixers are facing the Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat this week alone. After losing to the Celtics by 109-101 on March 5, the Sixers have to go right out and visit the Hawks on March 6 before visiting the all-powerful Heat on March 8.
Philadelphia can’t even take comfort in facing Orlando on March 10, given its awful loss to the Magic on Feb. 26. After that, the Sixers face the likes of the Heat, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggers over the next two weeks. Despite how far Philadelphia has fallen recently, the worst may have barely started.
Compared to most of these upcoming opponents, facing the Hawks on March 6 may be a relief by comparison. Nevertheless, like the Celtics and Heat, the Hawks are another Eastern Conference playoff team looking to cruise over the Sixers this week.
Atlanta took Lou Williams off of Philadelphia’s hands this summer, although Williams suffered a season-ending injury weeks ago. Nevertheless, the Sixers must wish that they had Williams for any amount of time this year. Losing Williams’ support off the bench, to say nothing of the absences of Bynum, Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, has hurt more than Philadelphia ever imagined months ago.
Now the bill has come due with the Sixers’ current 1-9 skid, which could bottom out even further with their current schedule. Fortunately, the Hawks have lost three games in a row and have lost their last six games to the Sixers as well. However, the loss to Orlando on Feb. 26 proved that any opponent can get back on its feet over Philadelphia.
The Hawks can use the Sixers to get themselves stable again and rack up another all-important win in the playoff chase. For that matter, the Heat, Nets, Pacers, Clippers and Nuggets are looking forward to using the Sixers the same way soon enough.