The Sixers won their 10th game of the season Sunday and star rookie center Joel Embiid wasted no time in making the boldest of statements. Perhaps foolishly, the 7-footer believes the 10-25 76ers are intent on making a run at a playoff spot.
“I think we’re seven or eight games from the eighth place, so I think that’s a goal. I think we have a chance,” Embiid said. “We’ve been hot lately. … We’re really figuring things out, we’re starting to learn how to win games.”
He’s right on a few counts. Philly is eight games behind the Wizards (18-18) for the final playoff spot in the East. The Sixers have also played very well of late, winning three of their last four games. The Sixers have lost six games by four or less points or in overtime — and the team is slowly learning how to close games out.
Several of Embiid’s teammates, including Nerlens Noel andErsan Ilyasovatold CSNPhilly.com that they also believe the Sixers have the potential to make a run in their current state of health and playing well.
Lets assume the best case scenario — that the Eastern Conference remains dreary and lackluster and, like in 2014-15, a team with a losing record (say, 38-44, the Nets record that year) makes the playoffs as the No. 8 seed. That would mean from here on out, Philly would need to go 28-19. And they’d probably need to do better than that to pass the five teams in the way of them reaching that goal.
But veteran guard Gerald Henderson urged his teammates put on the breaks.
“I don’t think that should be our concern as much,”Henderson told reporters Sunday. “Even now, teams that are going to make the playoffs, they’re not thinking about the playoffs.”