76ers Post All-Star Break 2024: More Setbacks and Disappointment in Philly

76ers Post All-Star Break 2024

76ers Post All-Star Break 2024

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76ers Post All-Star Break 2024Philadelphia, PA - The Philadelphia 76ers lost two out of three games in the recent week, as a challenging schedule after the All-Star break isn’t assisting their playoff hopes. Behind a 33-24 record, the Sixers season, as a whole, has been a positive one. However, since the turn of February, Nick Nurse and company have endured an ugly run, losing eight games in less than four weeks. 

The All-Star Break should’ve provided a much-needed reset, and the anticipated debuts of Kylie Lowry and Buddy Hield provided optimism. Unfortunately, the 76ers returned from the All-Star break to face a challenging series of Eastern Conference opponents and could only scrape together one win from three. 

The Sixers were scheduled to host the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Milwaukee Bucks in four days. Of course, it would be a challenging period for any club, especially one striving to maintain stability while its key player, Joel Embiid, is out of action. But a change is needed to consider a playoff run seriously, and it must arrive sooner rather than later. 

A Squandered Rivalry Game  

Last Thursday, the Knicks journeyed to the Wells Fargo Centre, and while the Sixers reduced a 26-point lead to 10 by the fourth quarter, ultimately, they could not complete the comeback due to fatigue. 

There were positives, though, as North Philly native Kyle Lowry debuted with the Sixers and showcased impressive teamwork with his new teammates. He also displayed resilience by returning to the game after sustaining a facial injury that required stitches.

The Bounce Back 

The Cavaliers, who had won eight of their past 10 games, played in South Philadelphia on Friday. Donovan Mitchell's absence due to sickness gave the Sixers a chance to defeat the second-ranked club in the Eastern Conference, and that’s exactly what they did. 

The 76ers seized the opportunity to their advantage, securing their second victory over the Cavs in the last two weeks despite facing a challenging schedule.

The Fallback 

The Sixers concluded their week on Sunday with former head coach Doc Rivers making his first visit to South Philadelphia as the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. The game proved challenging for the Sixers, which wasn’t much of a surprise, especially with the NBA odds on the spread being so lobsided. 

Tyrese Maxey was the standout player for Philly, although De’Anthony Melton and Paul Reed made some noteworthy contributions. This simply wasn’t sufficient to compete with the formidable Bucks unit, particularly when they were shooting like a championship team, which resulted in a 119-98 victory against the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center.

76ers Heading into March 

The Sixers' current season record is 33-24, with seven losses in their past 10 games. They are just holding onto fifth place in the Eastern Conference, and it doesn’t get any easier as they will face the East-leading Boston Celtics, who are currently on an eight-game winning run, on Tuesday. Then, the 76ers will play at home against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday and then travel to face Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday afternoon.

As we enter March, the Sixers' injury list is decreasing, which is the one bright aspect. Melton made a successful comeback last week after a month out, performing well in his first games, while Nico Batum rejoined the team. 

Every little contribution is beneficial, specifically regarding the injury list, which has evidently been hit the hardest since Joel Embiid joined it. The Sixers aren’t their normal competitive selves without Embiid, a sentiment that remains true even when he’s healthy but placed on the bench. 

Tyrese Maxey, undoubtedly, is a rising star, especially since moving to the starting lineup while maintaining a crucial benefit for the team's second unit. This is where the problem lies, and it’s nothing new for Philly; their second unit just isn’t good enough, right now at least.

Problems Fixed? 

The Sixers have already made moves to fix this disastrous personnel imbalance via the acquisition of Buddy Hield at the trade deadline. With Hield on the team, Maxey won't have to play as much point guard for the 76ers without Embiid. Although Hield is already a top-tier marksman, he is capable of so much more.

In addition, following his buyout, the Sixers signed Kyle Lowry to bolster their second unit. Lowry is a multi-talented point guard with experience. When the Sixers' starters need a break, he can take over the second unit and keep them in the game, relieving some of the pressure on Maxey.

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