Winning is contagious.
Joel Embiid traveled to Minneapolis (with Sixers teammate Justin Anderson) a week an a half ago to watch the Eagles compete for their first ever Super Bowl title.
He saw them win in person. His Sixers haven’t lost since.
Sixers players, not used to a winning culture as part of “The Process” and it’s painful rebuilding, watched the entire city come together — more than one million strong — for a massive and festive victory parade. The march down Broad Street came in the middle of their current four-game win streak. The Flyers also won their first four games after the Lombardi Trophy came to Philadelphia. Clearly, there is a connection.
“The Eagles winning and a city with an unbelievable atmosphere helps,” Dario Saric, who scored 24 points to lead all Sixers in Monday’s win against New York, said. “When I eat or go into a shop, I can tell the atmosphere is different. Philly has the best fans in all of America. We have Joel, we have Ben [Simmons], we have a bunch of guys who are ready to play good basketball.”
So good, in fact, that the Sixers (not counting a technical home game loss in London) have not lost a game at the Wells Fargo Center since December 21.
“I think that it means that all of us, we’re heading in the right direction and we’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves,” head coach Brett Brown said after tallying a career high 29th win. “I think that we’re trending in the right way, I think that for [recently bought out free agent] Marco Belinelli to have a choice of several really good programs, several really good teams and he chose us. It’s a statement to the guys in that locker room. It’s a reflection of where our program is heading and how it’s viewed in the marketplace. But to come up with that number of wins at home, really all it means to me is that we’re starting to move in a direction that I’m proud of.”
The Sixers host Miami Wednesday, their final game before the All-Star Break. Currently in the standings, Philly holds the seventh seed but are just a game and a half out of the fourth seed and two and a half behind the Cavaliers for the third seed. Beating teams like the Heat, also mired in the compact fight for playoff positioning, will be hugely important for Philadelphia.
“We have one more to go, and that one is very important for us,” Saric said. “I think it’s the most important game of the season to everybody. We need a good day tomorrow and be ready for Miami. We played two weeks ago against them, and just need to be ready to win the game.”
A potential give-game win streak before the break sounds pretty good to Embiid.
“Coach tells us the league is always looking for a break before the All-Star Game, and we are taking advantage of it,” the All-Star starter said. “We are winning every game before it, but we have one more. It will put us in a great position for the playoff race.”