Four games left. Their magic number to clinch the #8 seed over Milwaukee is 2. Their magic number to clinch the #7 seed over New York is 5. Which of those seeds will face Miami is still up in the air.
Seeding really doesn't matter at this point. Yes, I think everyone would prefer to see them play the Bulls (even if either matchup is most likely going to be a loss), but the important thing for the Sixers is playing better basketball. If they can't right the ship over the next four games, it isn't going to matter who they play, they're going to be embarrassed in the first round.
Doug Collins and his assistant coaches had a couple of days to prepare their team for the Pacers, and game film with only a couple of days of dust to go over. They also had a team coming off an easy win. Maybe the weight of the world has been lifted off the players. Maybe the coaches finally had a chance to take a breath and put some things in during practice to solve some of the problems which have popped up late in this grueling season. The goal should be to win out. To go into the playoffs with a little bit of confidence in themselves and each other.
Tonight, Indy has nothing to play for. They've locked down the #3 seed, they cannot catch Miami for #2. That could mean some rest for their regulars. It could also mean no pressure at all on the Pacers and sometimes a loose team is tough to beat. Of course, if the Pacers have been anything over the past month, it's been focused. They seem bound and determined to make some noise in the playoffs and I wouldn't expect them to let up against a possible playoff team.
No matter what, this game isn't just going to be handed to the Sixers. None of the remaining games will be given to them. As has been the case the entire season, they're going to have to take it...if they want it.
The tip is at 7pm. This is your game thread. I'll be right here throughout. If you've come along for the ride this far, why give up with only four games to go?
Prediction: Our bigs will look bad. That's the only thing I'm confident about.