The 76ers have won two in a row, both at home, but both had their peaks and valleys. During Friday’s 119-107 win over Memphis, the Sixers led by as many as 33 points. In Sunday’s 118-111 win over visiting Chicago, the game was tied entering the fourth quarter, before the Sixers finally shook off the injury-plagued Bulls.
Sunday wasn’t an artistic success, but it again showed the Sixers’ dominance over lower-level NBA teams.
Tuesday night, in their last game before the All-Star break, the Sixers will face a challenge when they host the Los Angeles Clippers (37-16). The Sixers are 2-6 in their last eight games against teams with winning records.
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The Sixers (33-21) are fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, two games out of fourth place, which would assure home advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Imagine where they would be had they not taken care of business against the lesser lights of the NBA.
The Sixers are 21-6 against teams with losing records. Some might think that the six defeats are a bit high, but in an 82-game schedule, losses to underdogs are inevitable. The Sixers are only 12-15 against teams with winning records, which is why they are lower than expected in the East.
If there is any reason for optimism, the Sixers will play teams with losing records in 19 of their final 28 games.
Here is the breakdown:
Opponents with winning records: Feb. 11, LA Clippers; Feb. 22, at Milwaukee; March 1, at LA Clippers; March 3, at LA Lakers; March 14, Indiana; March 18, Toronto; March 31, Houston; April 7, Milwaukee; April 13, at Memphis.
Opponents with losing records: Feb. 20, Brooklyn; Feb. 24, Atlanta; Feb. 26, at Cleveland; Feb. 27, New York; March 5, at Sacramento; March 7, at Golden State; March 11, Detroit; March 16, Washington; March 19, at Charlotte; March 21, Atlanta; March 24, at Minnesota; March 26, at Chicago; March 27, Phoenix; March 29, Portland; April 3, at Washington; April 5, Orlando; April 10, at San Antonio; April 11, at New Orleans; April 15, Charlotte.
To take it a step further, the Sixers are 12-0 at home against losing teams. Ten of the final 19 games against losing teams will be at the Wells Fargo Center.
According to Tankathon.com, the Sixers have the fifth-easiest schedule the rest of the way. Their remaining 28 opponents have a .463 winning percentage. The only Eastern Conference contender with an easier schedule is Miami. The Heat’s remaining 31 games are against teams with a combined .462 winning percentage.
Thaddeus Young joined the 76ers as a first-round pick in 2007, the 12th overall choice, after playing one season at Georgia Tech. Now in his 13th season, Young, 31, spent his first seven seasons with the Sixers. During the past offseason, he signed a free-agent deal with the Chicago Bulls, his fifth NBA team.
He is one of the older players on a young Bulls team. In Sunday’s loss to the Sixers, he totaled 10 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes, 51 seconds.
“I love coming back here,” Young said after the game. “The fans still show me love. The organization still shows me love.”
During his time with the Sixers, Young averaged 13.7 points and 5.5 rebounds in 516 regular-season games. They made the playoffs in four of his seven seasons in Philadelphia.
He said he brought his wife and kids to Sunday’s game.
“The people still remember us — that is the biggest thing,” Young said. “I left a lasting impact on this franchise.”
Tomorrow: Los Angeles Clippers at Sixers, 7 p.m., TNT
Feb. 20: Brooklyn Nets at Sixers, 8 p.m., TNT
Feb. 22: Sixers at Milwaukee Bucks, 8:30 p.m., ABC
Feb. 24: Atlanta Hawks at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Feb. 26: Sixers at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7 p.m. NBC Sports Philadelphia
Question: When the playoffs come around Brett [Brown] usually goes with an 8 man rotation. Who do you see as in and who do you see as out with the added contributions of many new contributors such as Shake, Glenn, Furk, Burks, do you see the rotation being more than 8 men? — G isthename on Twitter
Answer: This is a great question, G. Brown talked before the game and estimated that he would go nine deep in the playoffs. He said he wants to see Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks in action for a while before making a judgment. If Robinson plays the way he did Sunday (10 points, 5-for-6 shooting in 12:11, he will be a rotation player, especially because the Sixers like his defense.
After the five starters, it could be competitive for minutes. And the question we have to ask is whether Al Horford, after a zero-point performance vs. Chicago, will remain a starter.