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The toughest stretches of the Sixers’ remaining schedule

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers are 22-13 through their first 35 games of the 2019 season. Despite the increasingly impatient vibe around certain sectors of the fan base, the team has submitted a strong performance through those games, strictly speaking from win-loss standpoint. So can we expect the Sixers to perform at, below or above their current pace of .629 for the remaining 47 games? That’s tough to say: the team’s chemistry could click around the All-Star break as it did last season, and the Sixers could rip off 18 wins in 22 games, OR they could experience a set back and drop 9 of 13. There’s countless outcomes. But what we can do is take a look at the schedule to judge how difficult their path is moving forward. The following is part one of a two part series examining the Sixers’ schedule for the rest of the season. In part one, we’ll rank Philly’s toughest remaining schedule stretches in ascending order.

3/8 to 3/20 (7 games)

Vs.:

Games vs. opponents at or over .500: 6 of 7

Away games: 3 of 7

Back-to-backs: one (@ Hornets 3/19, vs. Celtics 3/20)

The Cleveland Cavaliers break up this run with what should be an easy win for the Sixers. But the Hornets/Celtics back-to-back may force Brett Brown to designate a rest night for Joel Embiid, possibly negating the easy win vs. the Cavs. One thing I’d like to note here is that the Sixers don’t play any truly elite teams during this run. Some may argue the Bucks are in that pantheon, but I would disagree in the sense that I don’t think a win is as nearly unlikely as it would be if the Sixers were playing the Raptors or the Warriors.

2/21 to 3/2 (5 games)

Vs.:

Games vs. opponents at or over .500: 4 of 5

Away games: 2 of 5

Back-to-backs: zero.

The 2019 NBA All-Star game will take place on February 17th, so this five game stint will see the Sixers returning to action well-rested following the All-Star break. The Heat struggled early on this season, but they have been hot as of late (7-3 in their last 10), so Erik Spoelstra’s squad is turning things around. With that said, the Sixers may find their best odds of victory in this stretch are against Miami. Combo guards Dame Lillard and CJ McCollum come to town February 23rd as Philly takes on the Trail Blazers, which could be a tough match up as the Sixers have struggled to contain scoring guards. I expect both the Warriors and the Thunder to be firing on all cylinders come late February, making those exhibitions quite the challenge.

1/15 to 2/12 (13 games)

VS.:

Games vs. opponents at or over .500: 12 of 13

Away games: 5 of 13

Back-to-backs: zero.

Murderers’ row. The one and only favorable aspect of this mostly-Western-Conference-contenders stretch is that the Sixers do not play any back-to-backs during it. Outside of that, shew! — what a grim slate. The Timberwolves are the only sub-.500 team that the Sixers play in this nearly one-month stretch from January 15th to February 12th, and even the T-Wolves will likely prove to be a challenging adversary. There’s just not a single “gimme” in there. And its looooooooooooong (that’s long with 13 O’s). If the Sixers can secure a winning record over this run, it will say a lot about their playoff make-up. Even if they go .500, many Sixers fans will be content. But if they have a weak performance, it could be an indictment on where the Sixers stand among the elite teams of the NBA.


I stated above that this will be a two part series. While the mid-January to mid-February slate is especially difficult, the Sixers have some conversely easy runs before season’s end. In part two, we’ll list and rank some of the less demanding portions of the Sixers’ remaining schedule.