If the Sixers are going to take the next step and finish with their highest playoff seeding in nearly a decade they're going to have to come out guns blazin'. The season has already been shortened from 82 to 66 because of the lockout, and the Sixers are in a tough spot starting the season on the West Coast, with five consecutive games on the road.
@ Portland - tonight, 10:00 EST
@ Phoenix - 12/28, 9:00 EST
@ Utah - 12/30, 9:00 EST
@ Golden State - 12/31, 9:00 EST
@ New Orleans - 01/04, 8:00 EST
After these five games the Sixers play 17 of their next 21 at home. If they can come out with three, maybe four wins, going into their lengthy home-stand they could be sitting pretty in the Eastern Conference standings with about 40 percent of the regular season complete.
Luckily none of the first five road games are against any powerhouse teams. The most difficult task should be tonight in Portland, but the Sixers can more than hold their own against the other four opponents. I'm predicting a 3-2 start to the season, including a loss tonight to the Blazers. They'll either go 3-2 or 2-3, depending on a swing game – which there will be – where one or two plays down the stretch decide the outcome. I'm counting on the Sixers to make those plays.
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