A four-game losing streak has seen the Philadelphia 76ers relinquish their spot as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, sinking to the No. 2 spot one game behind the Brooklyn Nets after Saturday night’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
It was the second-straight loss to Milwaukee as the sputtering continues with 12 games remaining in the regular season. Granted, it doesn’t help that the team has recently dealt with injury issues involving Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid.
Luckily for the 76ers, they have the NBA’s easiest remaining schedule that will either secure their standing at the very top of the East, or expose some red flags heading into the playoffs:
- 4/26 vs. Thunder (.333 winning percentage)
- 4/28 vs. Hawks (.555)
- 4/30 vs. Hawks (.555)
- 5/2 vs. Spurs (.508)
- 5/3 @ Bulls (.417)
- 5/5 @ Rockets (.246)
- 5/7 vs. Pelicans (.433)
- 5/8 vs. Pistons (.295)
- 5/11 @ Pacers (.475)
- 5/13 @ Heat (.525)
- 5/14 vs. Magic (.305)
- 5/16 vs. Magic (.305)
That means eight of their last 12 games come against teams with losing records. Meanwhile, the team who they’re now chasing, the Nets, have the ninth-toughest remaining schedule in the league.
Schedule and performance aside, it’s going to come down to the health of the Sixers down the stretch just as much.
“I would say everybody’s got to get healthy, that’s No. 1,” Harris said. “We have to be able to arrive at the playoffs with a healthy group… mentally and physically and just be focused and locked in on the main goal.
“As we finish all those games out, obviously there’s a race for whichever seeding it is. We want to be the No. 1 seed. That’s been our goal from the beginning of the year. We’ve got to do that the best way we can with getting everybody healthy. From there, play our game and do what we have to do to win basketball games.”
Embiid agreed in the importance of that No. 1 spot while getting homecourt advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
“For me, the one seed is very important,” Embiid said. “Every game we play at home, it just feels like we’re unbeatable. So we just gotta keep pushing, keep grinding out these wins, and do our best to keep winning.”