By now you are well aware that the Sixers have played 70 games this season, and you know that they've lost 61 of them. Like the 1973 76ers team before them, they're staring a season with single digits in the win column dead in the eyes. And, while their fate as the league's worst team has pretty much been sealed already regardless, it's our job to concern ourselves with a largely arbitrary number because, well, you've already read plenty about the jump-shot that would take Jerami Grant's game to the next level and the wacky inability of one of the league's largest front-lines to grab a defensive rebound.
Including tonight's game, eight of Philly's final 12 match-ups are with teams either in the playoff hunt, firmly in the playoff race or, similar to Indiana's situation, looking to make up ground in the postseason standings. The other four are against Denver (has high incentive to lose), New Orleans (just shut down its generationally talented centerpiece who has apparently been playing with a shredded shoulder since Nick Foles' 27-2 season), New York (seems intent on trying to win to soften the blow of a sunk cost they'll be sending up North) and Milwaukee (is playing Greek man-beast at point guard and now heading in an upwards trajectory). So, yeah, it may come down to that New Orleans game, or hoping for a lucky roll of the dice elsewhere.
Or maybe it's tonight? Indiana is playing its fifth game in nine nights, following four contests with top-shelf playoff teams in Atlanta, Boston, Toronto and Oklahoma City. It seems unlikely with the team just 0.5 games out of the Phoenix Suns Memorial Nine-Hole, and hey, if there's one thing NBA teams know how to do, it's put their foots on the gas at the right time. But stranger things have happened, and Indiana follows up the Sixers with New Orleans and Brooklyn in quite a week-long lull. This could be a sleeper opportunity. Or at least, relative to the rest of them.
Brett Brown has remained remarkably positive publicly about the state of the team, but these are still professional athletes who I'm sure have prided themselves on their talents for essentially their entire lives. I'd find it hard to believe the players don't care about their names potentially being etched in history for such an occasion. Most of these guys are playing for their careers in the NBA and beyond.
Let's hope, for their sake and for ours (mostly our eyes), that they have some fight left in them.