Philadelphia 76ers Weekly Preview 3/25-3/30

Jrue Holiday leads the Philadelphia 76ers into a 4 game schedule this week.It’s one game, but it means a lot to the  76ers because before Sunday nights 117-103 victory over the Sacramento Kings, the 76ers hadn’t won on the road in 15 games over three months. But, they’ll start this week with another team, the Utah Jazz, that they should be able to handle, if they play as well as they did against the Kings. This week, the 76ers will play the Jazz, Bucks, Cavaliers, and Bobcats who all have losing records.

Monday 9:00 pm EST – Utah Jazz (34-36)

The Jazz aren’t doing anything very well but aren’t doing anything very bad either. Their record (34-36) is close to .500 and they’re only one game out of the playoffs in the Western Conference. Their  14th in the league in scoring (97.9 PPG) and 16th in defense (98.9 PPG), which both fall right in the middle of the pack as well.  They’re a mediocre team at best but do feature a troublesome center in Al Jefferson and the never to shy to shoot Mo Williams at the point. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the 76ers who’ve been playing very well of late and should be riding the momentum of beating the Kings on Sunday night. Look for the 76ers to continue playing well and start a road win streak of their own.

Prediction: 76ers: 103 – Jazz: 96

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 7:00 EST – Milwaukee Bucks (34-35)

You may know the Bucks. They’re a mediocre team that currently holds the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They also feature a back court of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis that is averaging 37 points and 13 assists between the two of them. But, they’re also gunners. Both of them are shooting right around 40% for the year and not afraid to put the ball up. While Ellis has always been good, he’s never been as good as he thinks he is. The big problem for the 76ers will be containing Bucks center Larry Sanders. He averages just below 10 points and 10 rebounds per game but is prone to foul trouble that limits his minutes. If the 76ers can get inside early and get him in foul trouble, they can get him off the court then have an easier time. If they can’t, Sanders is just the type of center that goes for 23 points and 16 rebounds against a soft 76ers interior.

Prediction: 76ers : 88 – Bucks 93

Friday, March 29, 2013 7:30 EST – Cleveland Cavaliers (22-47)

Cleveland is just bad. There’s no two ways about it but it’s more due to injuries than poor play, although because of the injuries, you’re seeing lesser quality players on the floor which leads to poor play. Kyrie Irving, while supremely talented and holding the hopes of helping Cleveland forget the name LeBron James, can’t seem to get healthy and is out with a shoulder injury. Rookie Dion Waiters is out with a knee injury and Anderson Varejao was lost for the season when tests showed a blood clot in his lung following knee surgery. That leaves the team with players like CJ Miles, Tyler Zeller, Shaun Livingston and our old friend Marreese Speights. If the 76ers can get moving early they should be able to run away from the Cavs and make this an easy one. But, that’s not usually the Sixers style, so I’m sure that we’ll see them fall behind, claw their way back and then squeeze one out in the end.

Prediction: 76ers: 93 – Cavs: 90

Saturday, March 30, 2013 8:00 pm – Charlotte Bobcats (16-54)

The Charlotte Bobcats are just not a good team and for good reason. They don’t have good players.  Kemba Walker is just good, but not special at the point, but he leads the team in scoring at 17.3 points per game, so that should give you an idea about the rest of the team.  They’re 25th in the league in scoring at 93.1 PPG but they’re 28th in the league in team defense while giving up 102.9 PPG. This game should make the 76ers happy as they should be able to run the Bobcats out of the building. There isn’t anyone that’s going to contain Jrue Holiday in this game and it should be a good win for the 76ers .

Prediction: 76ers: 99 – Bobcats: 91

Summary:

The 76ers should finish this week 3-1 against the teams they’re playing, not because the 76ers are playing that great, but rather the teams they’re playing are all very poor. There’s always a trap game and that looks like the Bucks, but in reality, it could be any one of these games. If the 76ers play as they have been the past two weeks, this could be a very good week for the 76ers and they could realistically win all four games convincingly. On the flip side, this years version of the 76ers is haphazard at best so we could see them fall apart and lose all four. I’m sticking with the 3-1 prediction as they’ve shown a lot of heart the past two weeks and have played some of their best basketball of the year.

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Tim Sullivan

Born and raised in Fishtown. Bleeds Philly sports. You can follow him on Twitter @IrishTim74.