I have a friend that loves to do the “do you want the good news or the bad news first” precursor to any critical conversation. It drives me nuts. I won’t subject you to it. I’ll just start with the good news, the 76ers must be waking up thinking it’s Christmas Day because they have been presented a huge gift. Here are some of the reasons;
NETS ARE NOT AS THE KNICKS, CAVALIERS OR HEAT
The 76ers could have found their way into the 4 seed. That would have meant a first round matchup with the young, feisty Cleveland Cavaliers or the gritty defensive oriented Knicks. Either one of those opening series could have been a street brawl this team either doesn’t need or doesn’t want. The 76ers need to ease in a bit to a playoffs with a brutal road ahead and huge expectations. Slipping down to the 3 seed means you most likely will have to navigate both Boston AND Milwaukee to get to the NBA Finals. That is quite the gauntlet. Do you need more good news? A 3 seed has won the title the last 2 seasons, Milwaukee in 2021 and Golden State in 2022.
THE 76ers GOT PLENTY OF REST DOWN THE STRETCH
The 76ers were locked into the 3 seed for almost 6 weeks. That allowed them to load manage the veterans workload. There are no excuses this time around for the 76ers to hide behind. They are expected to win vs the Nets and it shouldn’t require maximum effort. As long as nobody breaks their face in the last 5 minutes of a clinching game, this team is poised to win a 2nd round battle.
NBA CHAMPIONS DON’T EMPTY THE TANK IN THE FIRST 2 ROUNDS
The average NBA Champion since 2000 has only played 11 games in defeating their first 2 opponents. The 76ers are going to want to be well rested for a potential battle with Boston. Defeating the Nets in 5 or less games seems almost a necessity!
The Phillies are sitting at (3-6) after the first 3 series of the season. Friday was an impressive win over the Reds but on Saturday and Sunday the Phillies didn’t deserve to win either game. They pulled a Houdini act on Saturday afternoon and then threw away a game on Sunday. Thankfully it doesn’t look like anyone is going to run away with the NL East in April. Here were some of the biggest issues;
THEY RUN THE BASES POORLY
The way this team runs the bases would embarrass most little league teams. They have no awareness of fundamental decision making on the base paths. I’m tired of hearing about how the aggressiveness balances out in the long run. That is complete nonsense. This team has already run into at least 8 outs on the base paths and I’m being generous. They aren’t good enough to give away outs.
THE TOP OF THE LINEUP WAS MISSING
They are missing Harper and Hoskins so it’s hard to expect the offense to be clicking early, but this past weekend was terrible. Sandy Alcantara is looming on Monday night, so there isn’t a lot of time to get things figured out.