Red-hot Sixers have won 8 straight ballgames as regular season comes to a close

Gutterman’s Sixers Analysis.

The+76ers+went+on+an+8-game+winning+streak+between+Monday+April+26+and+Saturday+May+8%2C+2021.

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The 76ers went on an 8-game winning streak between Monday April 26 and Saturday May 8, 2021.

After losing four straight games between April 19 and April 24, the Philadelphia 76ers have come back strong, and are currently on an impressive 8-game winning streak. As of Monday May 10, the Sixers possess the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 47-21. They lead the 2-seeded Brooklyn Nets by exactly 3 games in the standings, and the 3-seeded Milwaukee Bucks by 3.5, with just one week to go in the regular season.

 

The 8-game winning streak started with a massive 31-point blowout win over the O.K.C. Thunder on Monday, April 26, home at the Wells Fargo Center. The game was pretty much over- in terms of competitiveness- by halftime, as the Sixers led by 15 at the break, and were clearly in complete, total control of the game. In the second half, the Sixers just continued to build on their already big lead, and ended up winning by a very large margin.

 

The next two games for Philly were again both at home, both against the Atlanta Hawks. The first matchup on April 28, the Sixers absolutely annihilated the short-handed, undermanned and depleted Hawks, who were missing a large handful of their rotation players all due to injury. The Sixers won the game by a whopping forty-four points, a final score of 127-83. Seth Curry led the way in the scoring column in this one with his 20 points for the Sixers.

 

Two nights later, Friday April 30, brought yet another very comfortable win for the Sixers, again over the Hawks. Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid all chipped in exactly 18 points a piece, while backup center Dwight Howard actually led the way off the bench with a massive 19 points and 11 rebounds, playing just 17 minutes off the bench. Philly took the win easily, 126-104.

 

Next, the Sixers hit the road for a 3-game trip against the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, and dreadful Houston Rockets, with the trip starting in San Antonio on Sunday, May 2. In this game against the Spurs, who were missing their three best players including star forward DeMar DeRozan, the 76ers were in control for about 95 percent of the game. The first 3.5 quarters went very smoothly, with the Sixers retaining a 10-17 point lead through essentially the entire game, until midway through the 4th quarter, when the shorthanded Spurs suddenly made a big run and came all the way back from 17-down to actually tie up the game. It ended up going into overtime, where the Sixers were able to grind out down the stretch, and ultimately grab the win by just 2 points, thanks to a Ben Simmons tip-in layup right as the buzzer sounded to end the first OT period. It was far from pretty, but nonetheless, the Sixers were somehow able to get out of there with the win.

The very next night, the Sixers were in Chicago for the second game of a back-to-back. Unfortunately for the Bulls, they were forced to suit up without the likes of both Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic, their two All-Stars. So, that being the case, this should have clearly been a win for the 76ers. That was the case, however the Bulls did not go down without a serious fight. Again, almost exactly as what had happened 24 hours before in San Antonio, Philadelphia held a solid lead for the large majority of the game, until the Sixer bench lineup essentially blew a 15-point lead and allowed the Bulls to come back and tie the game, early in the 4th quarter. It was literally déjà vu. Ultimately, thankfully for Doc Rivers and the Sixers, once the starters led by Simmons and Harris headed back out onto the court to try and reclaim the game, they were able to do that. Seth Curry and Tobias Harris knocked down some crucially important shots down the stretch in the latter minutes of the final quarter to ultimately propel the Sixers to a 106-94 victory over Chicago, marking the Sixers’ 5th straight win at this point.

 

The third and final game of the road trip was in Houston on Wednesday, May 5 against the league’s worst team by record, the Rockets. Not to mention for this game, the Rockets were coming in with only 8 available players, as their entire roster had been absolutely decimated by a bevy of injuries. This all being said, the 76ers were able to capitalize on this situation and take full advantage of a weak and injury-ridden Rockets team. The Sixers cruised to victory, putting up a whopping 75 points on the scoreboard in the first half and dominating all facets of the game. In the second half, Philly simply continued to add onto their lead, and Joel Embiid finished with a tremendous 34 points and 12 rebounds in only 25 minutes of game-time. The Sixers won all 4 quarters, and ended up taking the win by 20, 135-115.

 

Friday, May 7, the Sixers returned home to take on the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans were also coming in short-handed, with stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram both out of the lineup for this game with injuries. The Sixers came out and played very well right from the jump, and they led by 16 at halftime. Joel Embiid put up 23 points, 7 rebounds and 10 made free-throws in the first half alone. However, in the 3rd quarter, things went south very quickly for the 76ers. The Pelicans dominated the quarter, and out-scored the Sixers 37-18 in the period. After having a somewhat comfortable lead at halftime, the Sixer lead was completely gone, and Philly for the first time actually trailed, 91-88, headed into the 4th and final quarter. For Coach Doc Rivers, the Sixers, and Sixer fans, the beginning of the 4th quarter was extremely concerning, and at one point, it seemed like there was a chance that the Sixers may actually lose the game. New Orleans had heated up, and their shots were falling, while the Sixers’ shots weren’t following with such ease and regularity. The Pelicans led in the quarter by as much as 7 when the Sixer-bench crew was out on the floor, but once the starters returned, the switch was again flipped. The final 4-5 minutes of game time were back and forth, with both teams going up and down the court making sloppy plays and turning the ball over numerous times. The intensity was extremely high, and when the stakes were highest very late in this final quarter, the Sixers held strong, played tremendous defense, and locked down the Pelicans. Philadelphia held on and grabbed the win by 2 points, a final score of 109-107. Joel Embiid was the hero again, and looked like the MVP, as he finished the game with 37 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Tobias Harris also chipped in 17 points and 3 rebounds.

 

Finally, to close out a very long week, the Sixers played the next night, another back-to-back set, this time staying at home. This was the team’s 5th game in 7 nights. It was Saturday, May 8, against the lowly Detroit Pistons— the worst team in the Eastern Conference. Despite some potential fatigue from having just played so many games, the 76ers came out of the gates hot, and jumped on the subpar Pistons early, claiming a 17-point lead by just the end of the 1st quarter. At halftime, Philly led 56-43. In the 3rd and 4th quarters, the smoothness and consistency continued, and the Pistons never threatened at all with any type of serious comeback effort. Embiid dropped in 29 points on 11/13 shooting, rookie Tyrese Maxey scored 22 of his own, and the Sixers cruised easily to the 118-104 victory, marking their 8th consecutive win. 

 

That was 8 games, 8 wins, in a span of 13 days.

 

This winning streak marks the Sixers’ longest such of the season. They have defeated their opponents on this stretch by an average of 18.38 points per game, including 4 of the 8 wins by 20-plus.

 

The Sixers now have just 4 games remaining in this year’s 72-game regular season schedule, and they will look to extend their winning streak on Tuesday, May 11 on the road against the Indiana Pacers. Then, Philadelphia will take on the Miami Heat on May 13, and end the schedule with the final two games at home against the Orlando Magic. IF the 76ers win all four of these remaining games, they will finish the regular season with 51 wins, and a winning percentage of 70.83%. That would mark the franchise’s highest individual-season winning percentage since the 1984-85 NBA season, when the team had a roster that included the likes of Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving, Moses Malone, and a rookie Charles Barkley.

 

It would certainly be fantastic for this Sixers team, as well as for Philly fans, to see their team end this season on a 12-game winning streak. That is, if they can pull off these last four wins in this final week of the 2020-21 campaign. It shall be seen if the Sixers can pull off the 51-21 record, which will just further cement their place as an extremely solid NBA contender this year.