Sixers clinch playoff spot, James Harden injury concerns, and the final stretch of the regular season
The Philadelphia 76ers officially punched their ticket to the 2022-23 NBA Playoffs last night.
Sixers Clinch Spot in the 2022-23 NBA Playoffs
With 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Sixers currently sit at 48-23 and in third place in the Eastern Conference Standings. They are a game behind the Boston Celtics in second and three games behind the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks.
To note, the Sixers will face the Bucks on April 2nd and the Celtics on April 4th. Philly is on the road for the next four games with the Chicago Bulls tonight, the Golden State Warriors on Friday, the Phoenix Suns on Saturday, and the Nuggets on Monday night before returning home to face the Dallas Mavericks next Wednesday.
Last night, the Sixers were able to clinch a playoff spot thanks to the Brooklyn Nets losing at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It marked the sixth consecutive year that the Sixers have made the playoffs, but as we all know, things tend to go haywire for Philly from there.
The organization hasn’t won an NBA Title since the 1983 season and this year, they’ll become the fourth team from Philadelphia (Union, Phillies, Eagles) trying to reach their sports’ respective championship game/series.
As we have been saying throughout this season, the most important aspect of the Sixers comes down to the team remaining healthy heading into the playoffs and while a healthy Embiid is playing like the league’s MVP right now, there’s growing concern over James Harden’s health over the final stretch of the regular season.
Harden had a rare off-night, which was ultimately the deciding factor in the Sixers’ double overtime loss to the Bulls on Monday night. Harden shot a miserable 2-for-14 from the floor while going 0-6 from three-point range. He also turned the ball over five times.
Now, it’s been reported that Harden is dealing with left Achilles soreness heading into tonight’s game in Chicago. He’s currently listed as questionable for tonight’s game, along with PJ Tucker, who’s dealing with left ankle soreness.
If the Sixers were smart, they would keep Harden and Tucker on the bench until they are ready to play to as close as they possibly can to 100 percent. Embiid and Maxey, along with Tobias Harris and the rest of the Sixers should be enough to win basketball games over the final stretch.
If I were coaching the Sixers, I would have Harden playing in just five out of the final 11 games.
- Bulls – Sit
- Warriors – Play
- Suns – Sit
- Nuggets – Play
- Mavericks – Sit
- Raptors – Sit
- Bucks – Play
- Celtics – Play
- Heat – Sit
- Hawks – Sit
- Nets – Play
At the end of the day, playoff seeding really doesn’t matter for a team like the Philadelphia 76ers. Sure, there. are easier routes to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals based on seeding, but for a team with championship aspirations, the Sixers are going to have to beat whoever is standing in their way regardless.
Health is the only thing that matters. Time and time again, we have entered the playoffs plagued by freak injuries to Joel Embiid and while we have clinched in six consecutive seasons, the Sixers haven’t really gotten a fair shake at actually making a run at a title.
Wrap up the regular season. Stay healthy. It’s all that matters.
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