Last night's win over the Celtics was great. They were catching us in the division, and we showed up to put them away. I am still concerned for the team and our prospects for the rest of the season.
We are now 23-17. What worries me is this was our 19th 10+ point win (and our 11th 20+ point win). That means we are 4-17 when not winning by double digits. Obviously, in the 19 wins, we played well and often had bad opponents (DET and WAS a few times). However, in the other 21 games, we have not played that well. In a few of the losses (think MIA twice, ORL once), we have stunk. In some of the others, we should have won, led some, but lost (MIL the other night, the NJN OT loss). If you take the MIA (-20/-21), ORL (-16), SAS (-10), and MEM (-13) losses out as bad games, we are 4-12 when we are between +9/-9 as a result. So, when the game's result is in question (+9/-9), we rarely come out on top. 4 out of 16 is a (.250) winning percentage. That is atrocious.
The main reason this is a concern is because come playoff time, there won't be DET, WSH, etc. to beat up on. It will be MIA, ORL, CHI every night. The way we played against CHI recently was close, but if we only win every other time, even at home, a playoff series can be over in 5 games. MIA is a team that seems to handle us. CHI and ORL are beatable, but clearly ORL more than CHI. No matter the opponents come playoff time, something must be changed to win close games, or the second season will end quickly for us.
I will concede that some may argue that we will return to the mean, and the close games will even out by season's end. For a team that has lost 8 of 11 and is 4-12 in +9 thru -9 games, this is a major issue.
Can the Sixers right the ship in close games? Are we too young? Too balanced? What can we do to fix this problem?