- Overview of the Sixers' week.
- A look at the week ahead.
- Rundown of the reported CBA changes.
- Mailbag questions.
The remainder of the Sixers' season is, for the most part, a formality.
The Sixers are currently three games behind the Boston Celtics, who they play later tonight, with four games left to play. The Celtics also own the tiebreaker. That means that for the Sixers to capture the 2 seed in the East they would have to win out, and the Celtics would have to lose out. Even if the Sixers win tonight, that is very unlikely. Basketball-Reference gives it a 0.2% chance of happening.
The Sixers are 2.5 games up on the Cavs, with Cleveland having just three games remaining. The Sixers own the tiebreaker in this one. Once again, the Sixers would have to lose all of their remaining games, and the Cavs would have to go 3-0, for the Sixers to fall to 4th. Basketball-Reference gives this a slightly higher chance of happening than the Boston scenario, but it's still only a 1.1% chance.
Even that said tonight's game is still important, for two reasons.
First, a win against the Celtics, even in a meaningless regular season game that has virtually no playoff implications and where both teams are likely more concerned with not tipping their hand in a potential playoff matchup a few weeks down the line than they are about winning tonight, might help prevent the fan base from panicking after having dropped the first three contests between these two teams. Should it? Probably not. Few results are less predictive of playoff success than one featuring a team that has nothing to play for. But we are humans with emotions and we react to such things, and a win tonight would help calm down the fan base. Or it will cause them to panic slightly less, might be the more accurate way to phrase that.
The other reason this game has significance is because of Joel Embiid's MVP bid. Again, should it? Probably not. But voters are humans and they will be tuning in to TNT to watch two teams at the top of the Eastern Conference "battle it out", and a 40-point Embiid performance, and a Sixers win, could weigh on the minds of voters still coming to their conclusions. With the Sixers having recently dropped a pair of games against Jokic and Giannis, a high profile win would certainly help Embiid on the narrative front.
One note on that: Jokic has missed the last three games with a calf injury, and is listed as questionable for tonight's game because of it. As things stand, Embiid (2,215) has played significantly more minutes than Giannis (1,991), and has a chance to catch Jokic (2,272), depending on how the two teams rest their respective stars down the stretch, and whose calf acts up over the final few games.
Should minutes played (or games played) be the deciding factor in who wins MVP? No. But would it be funny if Embiid, for all of the criticism he gets over missing games, ends up having the most total minutes played out of the three? A little bit.
On to the newsletter...