Tough schedule coming at the right time
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on December 8, 2008
That’s my thought after the 84-95 home loss to the New Jersey Nets (9-12, .429).
The game will be briefly recapped down, and only to keep track of it since I am three days late on that. What I want to focus on now is the upcoming future.
Let’s take a look at Sixers’ schedule until the end of December. I’d split it in three parts:
1) a home-and-home series vs the red hot Cavs (on an eight game winning streak): Wednesday and Friday
2) a four-game stretch facing teams currently below .500 (Washington twice, Indiana, Milwaukee), of which three games are at home (Wizards once, Bucks, Pacers)
3) our usual New year’s Eve six-game road trip West – that actually starts in the East (@ Boston) and ends in January, LOL – that includes stops at Denver, Utah, LA Clippers, Dallas and San Antonio.
This means five of six games vs teams that are above .500. In some cases way above cuz… the combined record of the six aforementioned franchises is today 73-50, 69-34 if you take out the struggling Clippers.
Sixers now need three wins just to reach .500, and with a pretty favorevable schedule already past, that we couldn’t take advantage of (bad losses to Charlotte, Minnesota, Chicago).
Perhaps not the best situation to plan anything, because you’d think that it would be better to take one game at a time. But anyway.
Splitting the series vs Cavs would mean staying where we already are, at 10-13.
Winning three of the following four (the ‘easy’ ones) would mean “rise” up to 13-14.
Winning two in the six game trip between December and January would mean drop to 15-18 at the end. That is my prediction.*
While I’m perhaps being optimistic about the Cavs games, I’m just being realistic about the other ten left, unfortunately. Actually, a 14-19 record on Jan the 3rd is far from being unlikely… while the notorious pessimistic arses in the US will say more like 13-20, I know !!
In another moment, I would have said that Sixers could win all of the 2) games, and perhaps even the 3) games at 3-3, stealing one in Denver AND Dallas. And you know I am always the “half full” type of Sixers fan.
But this team is crazy and totally unpredictable, and its unconsistency can drive you nuts.
So it’s really possible that we stop LeBron’s run at least once, but what does guaran-sheed us that we won’t let one to the Bucks, or even the Wizards? Nothing, I’m afraid. We did it already twice, vs worse teams (Bobcats, T’Wolves), so that’s why I don’t see four consecutive wins there, I’m sorry.
More. Is there any sign that we can finally put it all together and head West with the right confidence to beat at least three of those good/very good teams – that btw are all rising in the standings? Assuming we beat the Clippers on the last day of the year (and I don’t even want to think about a loss there…), where could the other two wins come?
Thoughts and suggestions welcome.
San Antonio has always been a tough arena to play for us, same for Utah: we fought well in both occasions last year, but we came up short down the stretch (Ginobili and Boozer punished us with big baskets in the final minutes of close games, if you guys recall well).
We handed out losses to Dallas AND Denver on the road last season and I think we could have a chance to repeat but… you never know with these guys, that’s the point.
I think that this tough schedule will help us understanding what kind of team this is, what kind of ambitions can we reasonably (re?)set for the 2008/2009 Sixers.
A playoffs team that can perhaps advance to the second round, like I predicted at the beginning of the year? Or a disfunctional bunch of underachievers that is going to disappoint big time the already skeptic Philly fans? One month and we will probably know.
(Now time for the LATE RECAP, please cut me some slack…)
The Nets game was all about making (outside) shots.
They knocked down 9 of 16 three pointers in the second half, while we missed many open threes when it counted and left them wide open with silly decisions (like Miller going to double Harris and leaving Dooling open for the corner trey that made it 81-89 and basically decided the game).
We shot the ball awfully (36% at the half, 36% at the end, at least we were being consistent, LOL) but stayed in the game thanks to many trips to the line. Six consecutive missed shots in a 6 minute span in the fourth costed us the game, the fourth consecutive home loss (!!).
In Brand’s second consecutive missed game, Dalembert was horrible, Miller simply bad (don’t let the stat line fool you this time, too many TOs and forced situations), Marshall and Williams decent.
I am worried for the last games I saw of Thaddeus Young, the kid is slumping a lil bit. Not playing bad, but having a smaller impact than before. Also, he looks not involved enough in crunch time. Not blaming him for that, though. Mo ?
(* = I never saw a prediction about the Sixers come true in my whole life. That could actually give us some hope)