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For a while in Sixers Land, the vibes seemed pretty good. But a 1-3 stretch by way of two 21-point blown leads and a loss to the rival Boston Celtics missing 3.5 starters quickly extinguished those feelings. However you interpret Wednesday’s loss, they didn’t blow any big lead. They just got significantly outplayed by a shorthanded squad. It was bad.
The prior two defeats, though, Philadelphia raced out to sizable advantages in the first half, only to squander them away and lose to teams well below them in the Eastern Conference standings.
So, earlier this week, we asked all of you to tell us what you consider the primary factor behind those issues against the Orlando Magic and New York Knicks. Overwhelmingly, the rotations were pinpointed as the foremost cause, with a couple other answers sprinkled in, yet trailing far behind.
Both games saw the Sixers trot out all-bench lineups. While Philadelphia was a plus-eight during 10 minutes of the Tyrese Maxey-Shake Milton-Matisse-Thybulle-Georges Niang-Montrezl Harrell unit against the Magic, it was also minus-10 against the Knicks and minus-four when Paul Reed replaced Harrell in five total all-bench minutes (minus-14 in five minutes is evidently awful).
With Thybulle gone, it’ll be worth tracking how head coach Doc Rivers manages the rotation. On the year, the aforementioned primary bench group outscored opponents by 14 points in 97 minutes, numbers Rivers surely enjoys. So, I doubt the reserve quintet is disappearing imminently, even with Thybulle now out of the picture.