It’s the Championship or bust for the 76ers. They went by the ache of trusting “the method,” and so they lived by “the shot” that took 4 bounces earlier than dropping in 2019. In 2021 they had been the highest seed within the Japanese Convention earlier than a recreation 7 flameout in spherical 2. Final 12 months they exorcized some playoff demons by beating the Raptors, however once more misplaced out within the 2nd spherical.
The Sixers entered the season with the eighth finest odds of successful the championship, in line with PA sportsbooks. Judging by their place within the standings, they’re doing higher than that, as they’re presently the third seed within the east and fifth general. Let’s check out how the second half has gone for the workforce.
Contemplating the adversity they’ve confronted within the first half of the season, they’re enjoying very effectively. James Harden got here again in December, however they actually missed his ball management and 3-point capturing. All world middle Joel Embiid has missed 10 video games with varied illnesses and cargo administration as effectively. Additionally they missed guard Tyrese Maxey for a stint.
Fortunately for them, they’d sturdy play from the replacements, particularly Tobias Harris. He helped stabilize the offense and stepped up his outdoors capturing. Since Harden was so sturdy at that side of the sport, it allowed the workforce to play an identical type with out a lot disruption. Now that Harden is again, they type a deadly backcourt combo that’s capable of shoot from the surface in addition to take it to the basket.
In fact, they’re getting their common All-Star play from Embiid. He’s averaging over 33 factors a recreation and 10 rebounds, and is the sport’s true drive below the basket. He has particularly began to choose it up as of late, averaging effectively over 30 factors a recreation in January. He’s making a robust case for MVP.
The Sixers play a high-tempo recreation on offense, particularly with Harden on the helm. They take a number of three-pointers, with the remainder of their pictures largely coming near the basket from Embiid. When the rim is simply too effectively protected, Embiid has been capable of make the mid-range shot, which makes this offense notably laborious to defend. They need to be capable to do the identical within the 2nd half.
The Sixers have good defensive outcomes, rating 4th within the NBA, however there are some query marks there. Surprisingly, they’ve performed protection the other of how they play offense. They provide up a number of three level pictures, which isn’t factor. Nonetheless, their opponents have general not shot effectively from three, so it’s labored thus far. The league common is 35.7 %, and the Sixers opponents are averaging 34.7. Once they can funnel opposing ball handlers to the rim, they’ve nice success with Embiid anchoring issues within the paint. Nonetheless, when he sits down for a breather, they’ve nobody to defend down low or mid-range, and opponents take benefit. Nonetheless, with the quantity of threes they offer up, there may be sure to be some regression to the imply, which may spell bother. For now although, they’re making it work.
On the commerce deadline, the 76ers may make some tweaks that would enhance this workforce in attention-grabbing methods. They’re very sturdy in backcourt, however may use some assist up entrance, particularly for when Embiid is off the ground. They’ve been linked to defensive wiz Jonathan Isaac to backup Embiid. They’re additionally rumored to be in on John Collins, who’s enough defensively, and does present some offensive punch.
So, the place does that depart the Sixers for the remainder of the season? With everybody wholesome once more, this workforce is nearly as good as any. The sportsbooks nonetheless have them round seventh or eighth in odds to win all of it. The road is presently -1600 at most sportsbooks, however count on it to maneuver if the Sixers hold paying effectively.