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76ers-Maverick Preview/Game Thread: The Home Stretch

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Fly Sixers Fly, On the Road To Lottery! (Fight Fight Fight)

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The final stretch of the season is a season of its own. Post-trade deadline, playoff bound teams fight for seeding. Playoff hopefuls fight to just make the cut. And then there's the bottom of the barrel, playing their own game within a game of winning by losing.

Welcome Sixers fans to the road to the NBA Playoffs Lottery!

While some of you may test out the lottery simulations a couple times a day, others may begin to box score watch teams so that the Sixers may Land the Picks. With nothing from now until the off season, I recommend putting down your torches and pitchforks, stopping pro-con arguments centered around players, picks and the process, and just begin to appreciate a relatively young team fight their way to improvement.

Most people will lament the environment of  current Philadelphia sports because of the lack of winning. But while I do share the same fatigue, I can't help but slowly start to realize that this may be the final stretch of "not caring about wins and losses". It's a weird thought as a fan, but there is such a twisted joy that comes from the lack of pressure; a pressure just feels like a mountain of expectation when there's even a hint of success in this city (Preseason Sam Bradford says hi). That said, there is just so much anticipation for this team's next chapter.

After coming short of a comeback against the Pelicans on Friday, tonight the Sixers visit the Mavericks who are in the midst of a slight bump in their playoff hunt, losers of 4 of the last 5.

The Zaza-Dirk vs Nerlens-Jah match up should be fun to watch, if only to see how the Sixers both attack and defend that pairing. It probably won't go well. However, as with Noel at the 4 last year, Brett should keep forcing the Nerlens Noel - Jahlil Okafor front court and continue to test them in a variety of situations for their benefit (and it's a win-win situation if you consider the draft stock). #TeamAllTheBigs

Cheers!

Check out Mavs Moneyball for the Dallas perspective!