A Monday always feels like a good day to take a step back and get the lay of the land. And what is the lay of the land with the Sixers? They're 5-8 after a pretty easy opening schedule. Starting tomorrow at the Washington Wizards, the Sixers begin a pretty legit stretch of games that could very easily leave them reeling. Let's take a look at it: At the Washington Wizards (3-9), at the Boston Celtics, vs. the Atlanta Hawks, at the San Antonio Spurs, at the Dallas Mavericks, at the Oklahoma City Thunder, at the Charlotte Bobcats.
There are some definite winnable games in there, but it's also a very competitive stretch with 4 of the 7 games against some of the NBA's best teams (I'm still considering the Spurs one of the best teams even though their record is a little weak so far). We know that Sixers coach Eddie Jordan is not looking at this stretch as a whole, because he's the head coach and that's his job to "take it one game at a time", but we can look at this stretch as a whole. When it's over, the Sixers will be 20 games into their season. That's a quarter through. It'll be done being "too early to tell." And if you look at that stretch of games, it's not inconceivable to think they'll come back from Charlotte with a 7-13 record, possibly even worse considering the Wizards are a talented team and the Bobcats nearly stole one at the Wachovia Center last week.
Maybe I was too positive while watching the Cleveland Cavaliers game on Saturday. Maybe because Cleveland looked like it was going to completely dominate (the game started 20-4), that I was overly impressed with the Sixers ability to come back and stay in the game until the end of the fourth quarter. Anyone watching knew that, more than likely, the Cavaliers were going to win the game. Regardless of the 6-point lead the Sixers built, you knew Cleveland would be too much at the end of the game. Who on the Sixers was going to stop LeBron James down the stretch? Regardless, after the game, you started hearing the same things you heard after other losses: We played hard, we just didn't make shots down the stretch. And walking away from that, I realized that, even with the addition of Jason Kapono, that's really the issue here again. The Sixers struggle to consistently make shots.
And in reading the comments after a recent story -- the one in which Iguodala said it's a positive because they have yet to all play well together in a game -- one of the comments really made a lot of sense. It's not really possible to expect, or wait for, a game when you're all at the top of your game. Because how often will that happen? On Saturday, the Sixers had three guys playing well: Brand, Young, and Williams. And that wasn't enough. How many games this year will they have 5 guys shooting and playing at the top of their game? Maybe a couple? They need to figure out how to win games when they have one or two guys scoring well -- because that's likely how it'll be most nights.