The Sixers are on their way to securing the top seed in the East, and a win against the Pistons tonight would give them a commanding lead.
It’s been over 20 years since the Philadelphia 76ers finished the regular season as the top team in the Eastern Conference. After all that time, the team’s magic number stands at three ahead of the second-place Milwaukee Bucks.
It’s an exciting time in Philadelphia, though you may not be able to hear it in the streets. The last time the Sixers were the top seed, then-MVP Allen Iverson took them all the way to the NBA Finals. This season, MVP-hopeful Joel Embiid has a chance to do just that… and more.
What stands in their way is an ensemble of lesser teams like tonight’s opponents, the Detroit Pistons. Things aren’t Always Sunny in Detroit, and this season is no different. The team is dead last in the East with a record of 20-47. While there have been a couple of young bright spots (Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart), the team is far from contention, though they are hoping to change that with this upcoming draft.
At this point, Detroit’s goal for each game should be player development. Their team has been eliminated from the playoffs, they’re injury-riddled, and they’re five games from a top prospect.
Philadelphia, on the other hand, has every reason to fight in tonight’s game. Each game brings them one step closer to securing the top seed in the East, and they cannot rest until it’s theirs.
Tonight could be a good opportunity for bench players to earn their minutes. George Hill and Dwight Howard are likely to have their time cemented, but players like Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, and Furkan Korkmaz (who is out) will all be fighting to earn their spot in the playoff rotation.
Tip-off tonight is at 7:00 PM EST, and while it won’t be a star-studded affair, every Sixers’ game from this point on should be filled with massive excitement as the team looks to clinch the East.
You can watch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or NBA League Pass. You can also listen live at 97.5 FM The Fanatic.