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The Final 6

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It's time to turn the page from last night's horrific loss to the remaining six games. After the jump, we'll look at the schedule and try to predict where this team will wind up.

Let's talk about the extremes first, then dive into the schedule. Best-case scenario, the Sixers finish 46-36. This would assure the Sixers of finishing no worse than #5, and if the Hawks finished their season 3-2, the Sixers could finish fourth depending on the tiebreaker. Worst-case scenario is a repeat of last season's 40-42 record. If Chicago and Detroit finish 4-1, the Sixers would drop to 8th. The Sixers hold the tiebreaker over both the Bulls and the Pistons, so if both teams lose two games, Philly can finish no lower than 6th. Here's a closer look at the math.

UPDATE: Tiebreakers - Sixers hold tiebreaker against the Pistons, Bulls and Hawks. It's up in the air with Miami. The second tiebreaker, after head to head record is conference record, here's where the teams currently stand:

Philly - 24-22
Miami - 26-22

The next tiebreaker is record vs. playoff teams in your conference:

Philly - 8-13 (4 remaining)
Miami - 11-12 (3 remaining)

If the Sixers finish 6-0 (46-36)
  • They finish fourth if Atlanta finishes no better than 3-2
  • They finish fifth if Miami loses one game or Sixers take third tiebreaker (record vs. playoff teams in East)
  • They cannot finish lower than 6th

If the Sixers finish 5-1 (45-37)
  • They finish fourth if Atlanta finishes no better than 2-3
  • They finish fifth if Miami finishes no better than 4-1 AND that Miami loss comes against an Eastern Conference team AND the Sixers take third tiebreaker (record vs. playoff teams in East).
  • They cannot finish lower than sixth

If the Sixers finish 4-2 (44-38)
  • They finish fourth if Atlanta finishes no better than 1-4
  • They finish fifth if Miami finishes no better than 3-2 and Miami loses both games to Eastern Conference teams AND the Sixers take third tiebreaker (record vs. playoff teams in East).
  • They cannot finish lower than sixth

If the Sixers finish 3-3 (43-39)
  • They finish fourth if Atlanta finishes 0-5
  • They finish fifth if Miami finishes no better than 2-3 AND Miami loses three games to Eastern Conference teams AND the Sixers take third tiebreaker (record vs. playoff teams in East)
  • They cannot finish lower than sixth

If the Sixers finish 2-4 (42-40)
  • They cannot finish 4th.
  • They finish fifth if Miami finishes no better than 1-4 AND Miami losses four games to Eastern Conference teams AND the Sixers take third tiebreaker (record vs. playoff teams in East)
  • They cannot finish lower than sixth

If the Sixers finish 1-5 (41-41)
  • They cannot finish fourth
  • They cannot finish fifth
  • They finish sixth if both Chicago and Detroit lose 1 game
  • They finish seventh if Chicago or Detroit finishes 5-0
  • They cannot finish eighth (Chicago plays Detroit, so both teams cannot finish 5-0)

If the Sixers finish 0-6 (40-42)
  • They cannot finish fourth
  • They cannot finish fifth
  • They finish sixth if neither Detroit nor Chicago finishes 4-1 or better
  • They finish seventh if either Detroit or Chicago finishes 4-1 or better
  • They finish eighth if both Detroit and Chicago finish 4-1 or better
So there you have it. In a nutshell, if the Sixers win 3 more games, they have a shot at the #4 seed. They would have to lose all of their remaining games and run into some serious bad luck to finish 8th. A 6th-place finish is still most likely.

Now, the remaining schedule:

  • 04/07/09 @ Charlotte - Charlotte leads the season series 2-1. Charlotte is barely clinging to playoff life, and they've lost three straight.
  • 04/09/09 @ Chicago - Sixers lead the season series 2-1.
  • 4/10/09 vs. Cleveland - Cleveland leads the season series 2-0. Cleveland needs 2 wins to clinch home court advantage in the East, but home court advantage throughout will probably not be decided (they hold a 1-game edge on the Lakers).
  • 4/12/09 @ Toronto - Sixers lead season series 2-1. Toronto was eliminated from the playoffs last night.
  • 4/14/09 vs. Boston - Boston leads the season series 3-0. They are in a dog fight with Orlando for the #2 seed in the East. It's doubtful that it'll be decided by the 14th.
  • 4/15/09 @ Cleveland - Cleveland leads the season series 2-0. See above.
Records say the Sixers should finish 3-3, with three wins on the road, 2 losses at home. That just doesn't seem likely to me. Tomorrow night's game is not going to be easy. Chicago has plenty to play for and Toronto had been playing better of late, until they lost to the Knicks last night. Realistically, if the Sixers are going to finish 3-3, I think they probably need to take one of those three games against the Celtics and the Cavs. If they're going to finish 4-2, they're going to probably have to hold serve against the three teams below them and take one from Boston or Cleveland.

If this team has proven anything to us, it's that they can never be counted on for anything, good or bad. They could very well go 3-3 with the three wins coming against the Celts and the Cavs. They could finish 6-0, or they could finish 0-6. I'm going to stick with a 3-3 finish, though. I think it's realistic. And I also think we're looking at the #6 seed and probably a first-round matchup with the Magic.


by Brian on Apr 6 2009
Tags: Basketball | Playoffs | Sixers |