Philadelphia State Of Mind
The Philadelphia 76ers have gone from being one of the darlings of the Eastern Conference to a team clinging to the #8 seed in the East all within a matter of a few months. Earlier on in the season, people were talking about the 76ers being a dark horse to maybe make a run in the playoffs and win the Eastern Conference if the stars aligned for them. But since then, talks of that have dramatically cooled ever since they slid into the #8 spot.
But after being 5 games into the first round, it is beginning to look like perhaps the basketball gods are smiling down on this young Philadelphia team, at the expense of the Chicago Bulls. With Derrick Rose tearing his ACL and Joakim Noah twisting his ankle, the 76ers have seized the moment, taking a 3-2 series lead over the top-seeded Chicago Bulls.
The 76ers are starting to once again have a little “pep in their step”, and they seem to be a team who once again believes in themselves. And why shouldn’t they? They are in the driver’s seat to beat the Bulls in 6 games, and the Celtics are likely their next opponent. They are 2-1 against the Celtics this season, and pose a lot of issues for them. They are deep, young, and play great defense. Out in transition, the 76ers are especially dangerous due to their speed and explosiveness.
If they can beat the Bulls tonight at home, which I expect them to do, don’t be surprised if they proceed to eliminate the Celtics in the next round, launching them into the Eastern Conference Finals. From there, anything can happen. Let’s say the Pacers eliminate the Heat in a miraculous series, and it’s Pacers/Sixers. Who wins that series? I think it’s a coin-flip.
Drawing Miami would be problematic, since they are 0-3 against the Heat. But sometimes young teams like Philly get hot and crazy things happen. Nobody saw Dallas losing to Golden State in back in 2007, etc. But at the moment, the Sixers can’t look this deep into the playoff crystal ball. They have got to take care of a banged up Chicago team tonight at home and then worry about the Celtics or the Hawks. If they can win tonight, there is no reason to not be in a “Philadelphia State of Mind”.