The Philadelphia 76ers are at the halfway point of the season with 41 games in the books. Sporting a record of 25-16. They are currently occupying the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Five games out of first place behind the conference-leading Boston Celtics. With all of the setbacks that this team has had, they’re actually in a pretty good place.
Here are a few things that stood out to keep them in the mix at the halfway point:
- The play of De’Anthony Melton and Shake Milton as the starting backcourt when both James Harden and Tyrese Maxey missed time because of a foot injury. The play of the reserve guards really kept Philadelphia afloat when it appeared that there could be some slippage before they returned.
- Tobias Harris really stepped up his play with a few of the players out of the lineup and provided consistency with his scoring, particularly from the perimeter. His catch-and-shoot ability has been much improved since last season. There’s less thinking to how he approaches the offensive end, especially with the addition of Harden. The point guard creates so many opportunities for Harris to just shoot the ball on the catch. Let it fly. His defense has also been admirable.
- The 76ers went undefeated during their 7-game homestand, extending their eventual season-long win streak to eight. While they were busy racking up a number of wins, so were the other teams above them in the conference – preventing them to move even higher in the stands. Maybe they’ll make the move in the second half of the campaign.
- Joel Embiid. The five-time All-Star has played 30 of the possible 41 games with averages of 33.5 points per game, 9.9 boards, and 1.7 blocks. He has been so dominant with plenty of scoring outbursts including a career-high 59 against the Utah Jazz. He continues to show why he’s an MVP candidate.
The NBA Finals is the goal and they’re on pace for the normal 50+ wins for the season. The question is always – will they be able to finally get past the second round. We’ll find out in the spring.