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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sixers Movin’ On Up

Don’t look now . . . or do . . . but the Sixers have moved passed the Knicks for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference despite limping home from a west coast swing. With just 12 games to play, they would be looking at a first round playoff matchup with the Miami Heat in that spot.

I think their biggest opponent in such a matchup would be the referees. I’m not a conspiracy enthusiast, but the NBA playoffs are the most predictable in sports. The NBA absolutely wants their marquee teams and players on television in May and June. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade will get the benefit of the doubt on every call in a series against the Sixers.

Atlanta is playing Chicago as I type. Entering the game, they were four games ahead of the Sixers. In the unlikely scenario that the Sixers catch the Hawks, they would matchup with the Orlando Magic. I actually think that is the Sixers best potential matchup. Dwight Howard would be tough to deal with, but I don’t think he’s the type of player that can carry a team in the playoffs. No one else really scares you on that team.

Of course, it’s still possible that the Sixers drop back to the seventh spot. At that point, it’s a toss-up as to who they would pay – Boston and Chicago were tied entering tonight. I think both teams are beatable, but the Celtics would also get the benefit of the doubt on most calls. Could the Sixers outrun the Celtics enough to overcome it? Maybe, but (despite the thrashing they’re putting on the Hawks at the moment) I would definitely prefer to see the Bulls as a Sixers fan.

The Sixers are moving up. Hopefully there’s time to move up again.

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