With 25 games left to play in the regular season for the Philadelphia 76ers and carrying a 38-19 record, this final stretch is key for them as they try to remain in the top part of the Eastern Conference seeding. The Sixers are currently third in the East standings behind the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. But the biggest challenge may be how they respond to being on the road for 15 of the 25 games. Important stuff for this team as they try to make sure this campaign doesn’t end like the five playoff appearances have… disappointing early second-round exits. Here are a few things that needs to be a focus during the final 25 games of the season.
Be a team
This group has done a nice job of playing for each other and not just themselves and it shows on the floor. That approach needs to remain the same over the final part of the regular season and heading into the postseason. Sure, there will be moments when individuals become frustrating but they’ll have to fight through that for the betterment of the team and the ultimate goal.
As always… health
This is true for every team but is especially the case for the 76ers and it really applies to All-Star center Joel Embiid. He is the crown jewel (as Brett Brown would say) and in order for Philadelphia to advance past the second round – he needs to be his dominant and important self. Buit in order for that to happen he needs to be upright and able to go every night.
Can James Harden keep up this level of play?
When he decided to return to the Sixers in the offseason, the point guard made it very clear that it was about having arguably his best chance to win a championship. So far, he’s held up his end of the bargain by putting up another All-Star type season despite not being selected to play in the game due to games missed because of his foot injury. The type of play seen from Harden through his 41 games played is what they’ll need in the spring.
The bench and rotation will be key.
The offseason produced a few key players added to head coach Doc Rivers rotation and there is a pathway where they all could see the floor once the playoffs begin. PJ Tucker, De’Anthony Melton, Georges Niang, Shake Milton, newly acquired Jalen McDaniels and the center by committee reserves will play a big role over the next few weeks in identifying how they’ll factor in it all.
This may be the best chance the team has during the Embiid era and they cannot fumble this opportunity. Will this season’s ending be any different from those in the past? It certainly could be, but sacrifice and how they fair over the final 25 games could tell a huge story going into the postseason.