The Philadelphia 76ers stood no chance when they faced the Miami Heat on Feb. 23. The Sixers showed why they are the ninth-place team in the East, as the first-place Heat cruised to a 114-90 victory. It was bad enough the Sixers had to face the East’s best team last night, but now they have to recover against the East’s third best team on Feb. 24.
24 hours after getting blown out by the Heat, the Sixers have to recover against the Atlantic Division leading New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Philadelphia could really stand to face easier opponents right now, with its season teetering on the brink of collapse. Then again, when the Sixers got to play the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 20, they couldn’t put up much of a fight then either.
At this point, Philadelphia can lose to pretty much anyone. Nevertheless, facing Miami and New York on consecutive nights, with the Chicago Bulls looming later in the week, seems like overkill. Still, the Sixers are somewhat lucky to face the Knicks at this particular time.
Whereas the Heat have a 10-game winning streak and are pulling away in the East, the Knicks have a four game losing streak and have lost the second seed to the Indiana Pacers. But unlike Philadelphia, New York is getting a break from its recent woes and can bounce back against an easy opponent.
The Sixers did beat the Knicks on Jan. 26, back when New York was right up there with Miami at the top of the East. Both Philadelphia and New York have done worse since that day, but the Knicks are still in a much better position. What’s more, the Knicks are lucky enough to play in Madison Square Garden, since the Sixers have lost seven straight road games and only have six road wins all season.
Philadelphia had to hope that Miami would cool off and play down to the competition last night, but it didn’t. Now the Sixers must hope the Knicks are too vulnerable to blow them out, yet they could take all their frustrations out on them and make a statement instead.
The Sixers might not be able to get a break regardless, especially since their schedule seems designed that way lately.