The Philadelphia 76ers are in the middle of a tight race in the Eastern Conference as they look to earn that elusive No. 1 seed before the Playoffs arrive. Philly currently stands with a 32-15 win-loss ratio and sits 2nd, half a game behind the booming Brooklyn Nets with only 25 games left to play before the regular season is up.
In my opinion, that’s an impressive feat for a team that lost their leader, MVP candidate, and superstar Joel Embiid with a bone bruise to his knee suffered earlier in March. That’s nine games without Embiid, and the team has gone 6-3.
So, how has Philadelphia stayed afloat? They dramatically increased their defensive rating over the nine-game stretch to 103.5, the best in the NBA. Remember, that’s without Joel’s towering presence who would be the heart and soul of that department.
The team throughout has stepped up to the plate, such as Danny Green, who’s shot 49.3 percent from three-point range during that stretch. But the biggest surprise has come from Tobias Harris, who’s been the Sixers’ best player with Embiid out. He’s averaging roughly 23 points a game, paired with seven rebounds and five assists. He’s transformed into their ‘go-to’ man to get them out of trouble, and he hasn’t disappointed.
I like where the 76ers are placed right now in the season. There’s a feeling of the team building together and putting themselves in the best position to be alarming come postseason. And with Joel Embiid expected to return to the lineup this Saturday, that’s another point to get the franchise even more excited. If it wasn’t for Tobias’ hot hand, I’m not sure that Philadelphia would be in the same position as they currently are.
Catch you Monday.