For the next six days let's forget about coach of the year awards
. Let's forget about the all rookie team and the most-improved player award and the MVP. We'll have plenty of time to talk about how the Sixers were snubbed when the games are done. For the next six days the only thing that matters is the three games ahead of the Sixers.
The Sixers aren't the only surprise team in the East anymore. In fact, the Hawk have been hotter than the Sixers over the past ten games. The home-and-home, back-to-back these teams will play tonight and tomorrow could define the Sixers season. Lose both and it's going to be a dogfight to hold on to the #7 seed. Lose both and you can pretty much forget about a seed higher than #7. Win both and then the rest of the season becomes about getting the #5 seed.
On Wednesday night we're going to have a very good idea of what this team is really made of. If you think Detroit is going to cruise into Philly for their final match-up of the regular season and sleepwalk through the game, you're mistaken. It won't matter to them that they have the #2 seed wrapped up. The only thing they're going to be thinking about it the 83-82 home loss to the Sixers from a couple weeks back. They're going to want to put the upstart Sixers in their place.
Three games over six days against two motivated opponents. Two playoff teams.
The Sixers come into tonight's game in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with Washington and Toronto. They're three games in the loss column behind Cleveland. While the Sixers will face a tough three-game stretch here are the schedules for the other teams over the same stretch:Cleveland:
vs. Orlando, vs. New JerseyToronto:
vs. Charlotte, at New Jersey, vs. MilwaukeeWashington:
vs. Miami, at Chicago, vs. Boston
Anything less than 2-1 is not acceptable over this stretch for the Sixers. 3-0 and I think the 5 seed is probable, the 4 seed still possible.