The Sixers will embark on a season-long, eight-game homestand beginning Saturday night against the Knicks.
Good news, right? Well, maybe in previous seasons.
The Sixers are a pedestrian 11-10 at home and just 17-25 overall, 3.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
After the Knicks’ game, the Sixers will host the Grizzlies, Wizards, Kings, Magic, Pacers, Bobcats and Clippers. There’s a mix of good teams and bad teams, but this much has become certain this season: the Sixers can’t overlook anyone.
Nothing has come easy after last year’s improbable run to the Eastern Conference semifinals. It’s blatantly obvious that the Sixers need Andrew Bynum. If the All-Star center returns with healthy knees by the All-Star break (Feb. 15-17) the Sixers could receive a huge lift.
But there are no guarantees. They can’t afford too many subpar performances or they’ll be out of the playoff hunt by the time Bynum returns.
The players are keenly aware. They don’t want to keep falling behind by double digits, but that’s what has transpired in too many games recently.
“We have to come out with energy in the first quarter,” forward Thaddeus Young said. “We have to get off to better starts. I don’t why it keeps happening. We talk about it all the time. We just have to do it. We have to come with the energy, otherwise we’re down 10 just like that. It’s hard to keep playing uphill and we know that as players. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get that turned around fast.”
In addition to quicker starts, the Sixers need to recapture momentum at home. The fans are clamoring for things to cheer about on some maddening nights. This eight-game stretch at home is the perfect opportunity to make up some lost ground in the playoff standings.
“The fans are so great here and we need to give them reasons to cheer early,” said guard Nick Young. “They’re behind us all the way. I think if we can have a great homestand, they’ll be energized and so will we. We know how important this next group of games is for our season and where we want to go.”
Show me the money
The Sixers aren’t only hurting in the standings. The ownership group is also feeling it in their wallets.
» Acccording to Forbes Magazine, the Sixers rank No. 22 out of 30 NBA teams in value. The franchise is worth $314 million, or 5-percent less than last season.
» For the record, the L.A. Lakers top Forbes’ list at a value of $900 million.
» Unfortunately for the Sixers, the decline is affecting ticket sales. Seats in the Upper bowl were going for as low as two cents, per StubHub.
» Metro found a ticket in the Upper Corner (row 209) for Monday’s game vs. Memphis selling for 95 cents on StubHub.