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Good Morning, the Sixers are in 4th

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Your Philadelphia 76ers would host a playoff series if they started today.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers shellacked the Memphis Grizzlies last night, 119-105. And the final score isn’t exactly a reflection of the Sixers dominance either, with the Sixers up as much as 34 before unleashing a lineup that featured a couple D-Leaguers. Ben Simmons likely would’ve had another triple-double, but played just 25 minutes (the most of any starter.) How about that? 25 minutes, 13 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Oh and he added 2 steals. In 25 minutes.

There really isn’t a whole lot to say about last night’s game, except this: the Sixers took care of business. It wasn’t a particularly fun game to watch, at least personally. That was due, though, to the Grizzlies putrid roster. But again, what Sixers fans can feel confident in is that the team dominated against an inferior opponent pretty much from the tip.

As timely as ever, the Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards succumbed to defeat last night. The Pacers fell to the New Orleans Pelicans, 96-92, and the Wizards failed to beat the San Antonio Spurs, in a 98-90 loss.

With those two losing (Pacers and Wizards), the Sixers have now climbed their way into 4th place in the Eastern Conference standings, with their .571 win percentage .002 points higher than the Pacers, at .569. (Although, the Pacers are the same amount of games back from the 3 seed as the Sixers.) The Wizards, who are now in 6th place, are only half a game back from the Sixers, and have a record of 40-31.

The Eastern Conference standings currently look like this:

  1. Toronto Raptors (53-19)
  2. Boston Celtics (48-23)
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers (42-29)
  4. Philadelphia 76ers (40-30)
  5. Indiana Pacers (41-31)
  6. Washington Wizards (40-31)
  7. Miami Heat (39-33)
  8. Milwaukee Bucks (37-34)

It’s kind of wild, no? It wasn’t but a few days ago when Sixers fans were thinking, “Hey we can maybe get the 4 seed, but I think our best chance is at the 5.” It almost seemed to happen too easily.

Now, I don’t want to get carried away. Only half a game separates the Sixers from the 6th seed. There’s still 12 games to be played for this team. But knowing the schedule that lies ahead of the Sixers, fans should start feeling excited about the team’s prospects in the first round.

If the season ended today, the Sixers would be hosting the Indiana Pacers in round one of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Pacers are solid, and the Sixers are only 1-2 against them this season. Even still, with home court advantage, it’s a favorable matchup. Or at least more so than having to go into Cleveland and be the best team 4 times against LeBron James.

With that said, the Sixers cannot take their foot off the gas. Every game from here on out is winnable, and not the 6th seed, the 5th seed, nor the 4th seed should be this team’s goal over the remainder of the regular season. The 3rd seed is in sight. That is the mentality the Sixers should employ with 12 games to go.

Don’t let anyone rain on your parade today. Yeah, you know there’s still about 15% of the schedule to play. And yeah, they playoffs don’t start today. But the Sixers are in 4th place dammit, and not Colin Cowherd, or Stephen A. Smith, or any other blowhard can take that away. TTP.