Losers of seven of their last nine, it's no surprise to see the Philadelphia 76ers continue to fall in the NBA Power Rankings. Their consistenly stagnant half-court offense without the services of Spencer Hawes, and inability to close games – for a multitude of reasons – are the things holding them back, because their defense remains among the best in the league.
Spencer is due back in about a week and a half, which is we'll find out if the Sixers' offense can return to the level they were executing at earlier this season. Hawes certainly doesn't solve the late-game issues, but unless an elite shot-creator/scorer falls into their lap, the Sixers will continue to lose close games.
However; if the offense can return to top 10 efficiency levels, while the defense remains elite, the Sixers are going to be able to win a lot of games down the stretch, including ones against great teams.
Get well fast, Wight Howard.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com - 11th (5th in East)
As the Sixers continue to struggle offensively (unless they're playing the Warriors), it's time again to focus on Evan Turner, who's now shooting worse than he did as a rookie. As someone who predicted an award-winning season for Turner, to say he's been a disappointment would be an understatement.
Tom Ziller, SB Nation - 15th (7th in East)
It's hard to find too much fault in losing to the Bulls and Thunder, but Philadelphia isn't convincing anyone it can beat teams of that caliber in the playoffs. It shouldn't need to in the first round on account of leading the Atlantic, but fans had higher hopes than "second-round knockout" when Philly got off to that blazing start.
Chris Sheridan, Sheridan Hoops - 12th (6th in East)
Their last victory over a quality opponent came way back on Feb. 6. If any team needs a shakeup at the trade deadline, it is these guys. And if anyone should keep an extra bag packed, it is Andres Nocioni - he of the expiring $6.65 million contract. He is second behind Kaman on Most Likely to be Traded List. Here's an idea.
John Hollinger, ESPN - 5th (3rd in the East)
Marc Stein, ESPN - 13th (4th in the East)
The Sixers have held their last nine opponents to 88.7 ppg on 41.5 percent shooting. They've been outscored by a single, solitary point in that stretch. And yet they've lost seven of those nine games, continuing to suffer without the injured Spencer Hawes and from their lack of even one steady shot-creator.
Composite: 11th (5th in East)