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Here's the top Sixers matchups on the 2021-22 schedule originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Anything can happen on any night in the NBA, so there’s a decent chance our choices for the best matchups on the Sixers’ 82-game schedule are wildly off.
That said, the odds seem good that the below six games are at least better than the average regular-season contest:
Oct. 22: Sixers vs. Nets, 7:30 p.m. ET
While injuries were unfortunately a key storyline for every Sixers-Nets matchup last season, both squads will hopefully be at or near full health for this opening-week game. The Sixers will have a shot in their home opener to beat the current NBA title favorites. Brooklyn has a world-class core and added depth this offseason in Patty Mills, Jevon Carter and James Johnson. Rookies Cam Thomas and Day’Ron Sharpe look like they might be able to contribute early in their professional careers, too.
Oct. 30: Sixers vs. Hawks, 7:30 p.m. ET
Last season’s second-round playoff series against Atlanta won’t ever be anything besides devastating for the Sixers, but here’s an early opportunity to beat the Hawks at Wells Fargo Center. Trae Young, who led Atlanta to an upset over the Sixers despite shooting 5 for 23 in Game 7, will undoubtedly hear ample boos.
Jan. 15: Sixers at Heat, 8 p.m. ET
The Sixers’ last road game of the 2020-21 regular season was a bad one, a testy 12-point loss in Miami that was far worse than the final score. The Heat made one of this offseason’s splashier moves, acquiring Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade with the Raptors. Jimmy Butler is locked in for the long term, as well. Miami also signed P.J. Tucker, another reason this game likely won’t be lacking in playoff-style physicality. Udonis Haslem is back for another season, although he won’t get into any dust-ups with Dwight Howard here.
Feb. 15: Sixers vs. Celtics, 7:30 p.m. ET
Two of the faces most associated with the deep disappointment of the 2019-20 Sixers are now Celtics. It will be fascinating to see how Josh Richardson and Al Horford fare against their former club. This will be the fourth and final matchup of the regular-season series and televised on TNT. The Sixers swept Boston last year, led by Joel Embiid’s 38.3 points per game, but the Celtics will hope for a turn in fortune under new head coach Ime Udoka (an assistant for the 2019-20 Sixers).
March 23: Sixers at Lakers, 7 p.m. ET
The Lakers always have stars and intrigue. Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Philadelphia native Wayne Ellington are among the team’s new faces along LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Howard is also back in town, of course, after one year in the East. For the Sixers, this matchup starts a three-game road trip that includes another evening at Staples Center against the Clippers and a flight to Phoenix to take on the defending Western Conference champions.
March 29: Sixers vs. Bucks, 7 p.m. ET
It’s a home game, which generally bodes well for this Sixers team, but late March sure appears grueling. Both the Sixers and Milwaukee might be jockeying for playoff seeding, and a victory over the 2020-21 champs could perhaps give the Sixers a boost of momentum heading into their final seven games of the regular season.