For the 76ers, this is it.

Beginning with Monday's game in Orlando against the Dwight Howard-less Magic, they have reached the point in their season that Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio reached in Titanic, just before the luxury liner sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic.

And the way things look, the Sixers appear more likely to wind up like DiCaprio's character, who, unlike Winslet's, did not come out of the dark, frigid waters.

It wasn't that long ago that the Sixers were believed to have the upper hand on the schedule, even though six of their remaining seven games are on the road. Only Orlando (with Howard out because of a herniated disk in his back) and Indiana, which they play twice, are playoff teams. Cleveland, New Jersey, Milwaukee, and Detroit all appeared to present little threat.

Not anymore.

Of the 14 teams not in the playoffs going into Saturday's games, just five - Golden State (.344), Sacramento (.290), Cleveland (.250), Washington (.233), and Charlotte (.137) - have a lower winning percentage than the Sixers (.366) have going back to the point where the Sixers were 20-9 (.689).

Hard as it is to believe, the Sixers have been worse than New Jersey (.451), Toronto (.387), and Minnesota (.387) down the stretch.

Know who the Sixers have been in the last 30 games of the regular season? The 17-42 New Orleans Hornets. They own the worst record in the Western Conference at 11-19 - the same as the Sixers. Twenty-nine games into the regular season, the Hornets were just 6-23.

After winning 12 of their first 14 home games, the Sixers have lost 11 of their last 18 at the Wells Fargo Center. Before they beat New Jersey and Toronto on the road, they were 3-11 in their last 14 road games, and two of those victories were over 7-51 Charlotte.

No matter the outcome of these final seven games, this is going to be an incredibly interesting summer for a team that right now nobody seems to have a finger on, because of the Jekyll-and-Hyde manner in which it has performed under coach Doug Collins.

Who are they?

Are they the team that went 3-13 under Collins in his first 16 games last season and have gone 11-19 and wilted under the pressure of a playoff run since mid-February?

It's hard to say, because sandwiched between those ugly stretches is a team that bridged the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons with a stretch that saw them play at a .682 clip (58-27) over 85 games.

You want to see the 76ers beating up on themselves after each one of these losses. You don't want to hear the coach relating stories about how unfocused they were in a shootaround and then see them play a sloppy fourth quarter against a New Jersey team that handled them without Gerald Wallace or Brooks Lopez.

Early on, it was the Sixers beating other teams to loose balls. It was the Sixers who won all of the hustle categories that are so crucial for a team built around its pieces, not one or two stars.

Now, however, when they should have an extreme sense of urgency, they have become complacent, almost accepting that their fate, which they once held in their own hands, is to be determined by the teams wearing the other jerseys.

They were once the toast of the town, as evidenced by the 19 percent jump in home ticket sales from last season, the largest in the league. And while some believe it will be better for them to finish in the lottery, if they don't reach the playoffs after leading the Atlantic Division for so many weeks, this season, once so special, will be viewed as a monumental collapse.

Contact John Mitchell at or on Twitter @jmitchellInquirer.