Denver, Atlanta, Miami. That was the "tough stretch" Jordan wrote about early last week. Finally, after 13 games where the opponents winning percentage was a lowly .371, they'd play some actual competition. Now, we'd find out if this team really had some marbles or if they were pulling the wool over our eyes with deceiving teaminess. 79% of you voted that they would win at least two of those three games.
Well, you know what happened. A crushing overtime loss to Denver at the spiteful hands of Andre Miller kicked it off. Next, the the Hawks came to town and it looked like they were going to upend the Sixers as well before a second half hurricane came through and blew Atlanta out of the water. And then last night, in what was the toughest game scheduled, a road game in Miami on the second night of a back-to-back, the defense couldn't stop LeBron James and Chris Bosh, allowing them to pull away late in the third due to coaching miscues and frontcourt abandonment.
So where do we stand now? At 11-5, they have a commanding lead over the Atlantic, that much is certain. And with the 2nd place Knicks dealing with injuries and chemistry issues, a 5-game lead this early lets them breathe a little bit. But in terms of their place in the East come playoff time, have you gotten any indication that they could beat any of the better teams? Or does the record speak for itself and they're still legit? I'm just interested in what you think, considering that the only two teams over .500 the Sixers have beaten are the Al Horford-less Hawks and the Danny Granger-less Pacers. The next best team they defeated is the 6-9 Suns. Just something to think on...
The next stretch of games includes four straight TERRIBLE opponents at home. Anything short of winning each of those games would be a disappointment. Washington, New Jersey, Charlotte, Detroit. They are the four worst teams in the Eastern Conference with a combined record of 13-51, good for a .203 winning percentage. We'll have to wait until the brutal stretch immediately following that cakewalk, where they face Orlando, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, LA Lakers, San Antonio, and LA Clippers all in a row. Win 4 of those 7 games and we're talking about a team. Until then, they're just beating up on Girl Scouts, and that's not very nice.
On a completely different note, I would like you to read this article from our Milwaukee Bucks blog Brew Hoop. It's a beautifully written piece defending the author's fear that, in Brandon Jennings, the Bucks are investing their future in the wrong franchise guy. I'm begging you to read it and talk about it here, because it seems relevant or at least tangential to what we've been talking about for years. You don't have to write a book report on it, but let's talk about it over tea.