The good ship momentum has sailed. Even a win over the Cavs tonight isn't going to erase the memory of the past 6 games, so here's my question to you. Is it worth risking injury to overextend yourself for an infinitesimal shot at the number 6 seed? How about this one, do we even want the number 6 seed? It's a valid question we'll tackle after the jump.
Listen, I'm about as delusional as they come and even I'm saying the Sixers have two chances at getting out of the first round no matter who they play, slim and none. It would take such a night-and-day turnaround, I just don't think they can do it. If they were playing at their best, maybe I'd give them a 30% chance against these teams. Now, it has to be below 10%, maybe 5%.
That being said, we have to ask ourselves, what's the goal? Is it to just show up in the first round, maybe steal a game or two, go home and lick our wounds? Or is the goal still to go as deep into the playoffs as possible? Personally, I always over-reach with goals. I find if you make them too easy to attain, you never really push yourself. With that in mind, I'm going to say the Sixers are better off finishing seventh than sixth.
Yes, I just watched the Sixers lose to the Celts. I'm well-aware they'd probably be lucky to get to a fifth game in a series with them, but big picture, if you're going to really make noise in the playoffs from either the #6 or #7 seed, you're going to have to beat Boston. So if you really want to go as far as possible, it makes more sense to play them in the first round, with a big question mark hanging over Kevin Garnett's head, than to face them in the second round after Garnett has a handful of games under his belt.
I think the odds of the Sixers beating either Orlando or Boston in the first round are probably about the same, depending on injuries. I see Boston growing stronger, much stronger, as the playoffs go on. If you have to go through them no matter what, I'd rather do it now than in the second round.
I realize it's pretty pointless to be talking about second-round matchups after watching the Sixers implode over the past 2 weeks, but there's a reason. Nothing good can come out of tomorrow night's game in Cleveland. A lone win against a team that's only half-trying isn't going to suddenly get the team on track. A win and a Chicago loss may actually put you in worse shape in the playoffs. So please, please don't overextend your starters' minutes just to get the win. Miller is hurting. Iguodala is tired. Sam is hurting. Let those guys take it easy, somewhat.
Here's what I'd like to see from Coach DiLeo, regardless of score. I want to see Thad, Miller and Iguodala on the floor for 30 minutes, together. That's it. Let Thad get his legs back under him, and let the Andres get used to playing with Thad again. When the playoffs get here we aren't going to see 9-man rotations (or at least we shouldn't). Our first unit needs to figure things out, and more importantly, they need to be rested and healthy when the playoffs begin.
This team is really trying my patience at this point. Every time they seemingly get some kind of break, they completely blow it. They've had no time to regroup in the past month, maybe an easy night tomorrow against the Cavs followed by a couple off days will be just what the doctor ordered. Then again, maybe we're only going to see 5 more games of Sixers basketball this season.