The Philadelphia 76ers lost both of their games this weekend, at home with Joel Embiid against the Rockets on Friday and in Chicago last night without JoJo. Neither of them were bad losses, necessarily -- the Sixers got shredded by Houston MVP front-runner James Harden and just kinda outmuscled by a Bulls team with greater talent (sans Embiid anyway). But if Brett Brown's bunch are actually serious about pushing for the playoffs, we really need to start winning at least one (and preferably both) of those types of games.
Should the Sixers actually be serious about that? Maybe, maybe not -- at 17-29, we're currently just five games out of the eighth seed, though with every other lottery-bound team aside from the putrid Nets currently standing in our way. But if they wanna prove they are, now's the time: Between now and the All-Star Break, we have an astounding 10 games coming in 17 days, starting tonight with our second showdown of the year against the DeMarcus Cousins-led Sacramento Kings.
It's gonna be grueling, but it's also gonna be our best, maybe only, shot at making significant bounds in the standings. Of the ten upcoming games, seven of them are against sub-.500 teams -- five of 'em from the East -- with two meetings with the San Antonio Spurs and a road game in Boston marking the only major challenges for Philly over that span. Tonight's game against Sacramento will be particularly crucial as a two-win swing in the lottery standings; if we really want #pickswap to be a thing this year, we need to extinguish the Kings' current hot streak and keep them from gaining any more on their 1.5 game lead on us.
If the Sixers lose tonight, and drop a couple more winnable games the next few weeks, it'll be a pretty sure sign that it's time to let go of 8th-seed fantasies and get back to Prospect Watch. which might be for the best, especially as we (hopefully) start integrating Ben Simmons into the swing of things after All-Star Weekend. But if we can go 7-3 or 8-2 before the break and really make some noise in the low end of the East's standings, we could still have more to play for in the season's second half than we've had in a long, long time. We'll find out soon enough, and we'll stay Process-trusting whichever step ends up coming next.