Maybe going 1-3 this past week (not counting the Dallas game) isn't necessarily the best way to stay at the top of the rankings.
But without rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams for three of those four contests, it's understandable why they haven't been playing up to par. Or maybe this is truly their level of play, and they spent the first several games playing in an unconscious state. I think we've been Inception'd.
To the rankings.
ESPN's Marc Stein kept a level head this week, placing the Sixers at 16 for the second week in a row. Here's what he had to say.
When the Sixers lose, it's often ugly. They've already absorbed losses by 20, 24 and, most recently, 37 points. Of course there's only one loss at the moment that troubles your (no misprint) Atlantic Division leaders: Early ROY leader MCW has missed three straight games with a foot injury.
The losses are not ugly. They're beautiful in their very own way.
Marc Spears of Yahoo also placed the Sixers at 16 this week, but had the Sixers at 12 last week. His reasoning behind the drop:
The Sixers have lost four of their past five games and have a losing record, but are still in first in the horrible Atlantic Division.
Short and to the point. Despite last night's loss, the Sixers are still a 1/2 game ahead of Toronto, Boston, and New York for first place. If being at the top of a crummy division can keep them in the upper half of team power rankings, then so be it.
NBA.com's resident power ranker John Schuhmann has Philadelphia holding down the 17th spot, falling from 11. Here are Schuhmann's thoughts:
The Sixers have lost six of their last eight games, the Michael Carter-Williams Show is on pause because of a foot injury, and their defense has often been atrocious. But they gave us another thriller against the Rockets on Wednesday and a couple of the sneaky-best highlights of the week: Spencer Hawes' put-back over Dwight Howard and Darius Morris' no-look dime to Lavoy Allen in Atlanta.
Both sites placed the Sixers at 15 this week. USA Today had them falling four slots this week, while Moore had them falling all the way from 7. From Moore:
You know how when you run, you hit a point where the adrenaline wears off and all of a sudden your legs and lungs are burning and all you want is to lay down and die right there? Some strain in the Sixers' gait, so to speak.
Who was the biggest hater: SBNation's Jason Patt
Patt seems very unimpressed by the Sixers, McKayla Maroney style. This week he opted to placed the Sixers at 21, falling seven spots from 14 last week. Jason folds his arms and furrows his brow as he says:
It was fun while it lasted. Michael Carter-Williams is dealing with a foot injury and the Sixers' defense is absolutely woeful. Philadelphia is giving up a league-worst 111.1 points per game on the season. Let the tanking commence?
Certainly possible. Are the Sixers done, or can Tony Wroten and the rag-tag bunch from Philadelphia take care of buisiness?