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76ers Need to Throttle Bottom Feeders Again This Weekend: A Fan’s Preview
The Philadelphia 76ers have been virtually perfect against the hopeless causes of the NBA this season. Sixers fans like myself are still concerned that they won't do as well against better competition - but once they start losing to worse teams, that will be a true cause for concern.
As such, the Sixers have to hope the floodgates didn't open with their overtime loss to the New Jersey Nets on Jan. 25. Considering that they face the 3-16 Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 27 and the 4-15 Detroit Pistons the next night, they really shouldn't open now - especially with what is coming next.
Philadelphia is about to finally prove itself after this weekend with seven straight games against powerful opponents like the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks and the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers. The last thing the Sixers need to do before then is have a weekend where they lose to the Bobcats and/or Pistons, to go along with their defeat to the Nets.
There is no reason to fall to a Bobcats team that just got drubbed by a horrendous Washington Wizards club who fired their head coach a day earlier. There is even less reason to lose to a Pistons club that the Sixers throttled on Jan. 6 to begin their hot month. Given that both contests are at home, the excuses decrease even further - and the Sixers still haven't lost a game at the Wells Fargo Center in regulation yet.
If Philadelphia was pegged to cool off at some point, it was expected to come in next week's stretch of big showdowns. To start fading away before then would be quite the problem, especially since defeating the dregs of the NBA has been the Sixers' bread and butter so far. Without even that to fall back on, things could get ugly if coach Doug Collins isn't careful.
However, the Nets at least have a superstar in Deron Williams and are desperate to entice another one, so that could help explain their success in the Wells Fargo Center. Yet the Bobcats and the Pistons are far more lost than the Nets have been so far - and the Sixers don't need to stop any true superstars from those two opponents.
Philadelphia hasn't been caught looking past any last place teams so far, so this would be a poor time to start now. The Sixers are technically expected to start proving themselves or not next week, but they are really starting that quest this weekend as they try to roll into their biggest stretch of the year on the right note.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident and 76ers fan.
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