After beginning the season 3-13, the Sixers have won 24 of their last 40 games and officially matched their win total from a season ago. With the way the they have played since their abysmal start it's entirely possible that they finish with 40+ wins. To put in perspective how surprising 40+ wins for this Sixers squad would be, take a look back at our official Liberty Ballers prediction contest in October, where only three readers predicted a 40-win season.
With the Sixers exceeding most expectations in the win-loss columns, and even more on the court, I thought the All-Star Break would be the perfect time to freshen up our predictions and goals for the final trimester of games.
A brief breakdown of the remaining 26 games after the jump.
Home Games: 15
Away Games: 11
Games against teams above .500: 11
Games against teams below .500: 15
4 games in 5 nights: 1
Longest Road Trip: 5
Longest Home Stand: 4
At 27-29 the Sixers need to go 15-11 to finish above .500 for the first time in six years. If they manage 17 wins in the final 26 they'll finish the season with 44 wins – their most in eight years.
Two games behind the Knicks for the six seed, but 7.5 behind Atlanta for the fifth seed, it's near-impossible for the Sixers to finish any higher than the sixth seed.
My goals for the remainder of the season are simple: 42 wins or more, and the sixth seed. From a pure basketball standpoint, the actual difference between 42 wins and the sixth seed, and 37 wins and the eighth seed is minimal – in both scenarios the Sixers would face far-superior opponent in the playoffs. However; there is a certain legitimacy attached to a record above .500, and the chances of upsetting the Bulls or Magic in a seven game series is slightly less impossible than beating the Heat or Celtics.
Finishing 15-11 would likely accomplish both of my Sixers-centric goals, and after looking briefly at the schedule 15-11 is exactly what I'll predict. 15 home games and 15 games against teams under .500 should be enough to get the job done, and finishing 15-11 would take a winning percentage of .577 – right around the 60% clip the Sixers have been winning at since 3-13.
What say you? What record do you think the Sixers finish with? What record do you want to see them finish with?