By Julie Glass
Okay, when the music stopped in the NBA on March 12 the Sixers were at 39-26 and in the sixth seed in the East.
Now that they are re-starting August 1 in Orlando, what’s their outlook?
The Heat face the league’s most difficult schedule, with games against each of the East’s top three teams and only one lightweight (Phoenix) in their eight games. Every other team plays at least two such squads except the DOA Suns.
Miami has a two-game edge over Indiana and the Sixers and the Heat have also clinched the tie-break against both.
Nonetheless, this seemingly safe lead could fade fast.
The Heat play the Pacers twice, for starters, and Indiana’s slate in the other six games is pretty light (21 points) – including Orlando, Phoenix and Washington. The good news for Miami is that it already owns the tie-break with Indiana, but even so, the Heat need to get a split in these two games or they’re staring at a No. 6 seed and a first-round date with mighty Boston.
The Sixers’ slate is nothing short of a gift.
Make a list of the five worst teams in the bubble and four of them are on Philly’s schedule (Washington, Phoenix, San Antonio and Orlando). If they win those and defeat Portland and Indiana, they’ll have the conference record tie-break on the Pacers and have a great shot to land the fourth seed in the East.