Riddle Me the Flyers & 76ers??

In Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers on April 1, 2012 at 10:38 am

Riddle me this Philadelphia sports fans. Who are these Flyers and 76ers teams that we’re following, hopefully to the playoffs?

Let’s start with the Flyers. Last week in our review we stated that the Flyers had a somewhat light week with only three games, two of them at the Wells Fargo Center against Tampa Bay, and Ottawa with a trip to Toronto sandwiched in between. We stated that the Flyers needed at least 5 points, if not 6, for the week. Tampa and Toronto are likely out of the playoffs, so they needed to win those games. One, if not two points against Ottawa, would make a good week. Instead, the Flyers forgot that there was a game against the Lightning and stunk the place up, losing 5-3. They moved on to Toronto and took care of their business by winning 7-1. They closed out the week by losing another shootout to Ottawa, 4-3. That’s 3 of the possible 6 points for the week. The Flyers hold the 5th spot at this point with 99 total points. In the meantime, the 1st place Rangers won all three of their games. They now have 50 wins and 107 total points. The Penguins went 2-2, losing both games to the Islanders. The Pens are presently in the 4th spot with 102 points. There’s now just one week left in the regular season with each of the three teams having 4 games remaining. For the Flyers and Pens they control their own destiny. They play each of other twice this week, both times in Pittsburgh. The first game is this afternoon, Tuesday the Flyers host the New York Rangers, Thursday they host the Buffalo Sabers and close out the regular season next Saturday in Pittsburgh.  The Flyers must also be aware of the New Jersey Devils that are sitting just 3 points behind them. The Devils have 3 games remaining.

A big question mark for the Flyers will be the goaltending situation. The red hot Ilya Bryzgalov is fighting off a chipped bone in his foot. Sergei Bobrovsky has been getting the work. The Flyers need Bryz back at full strength heading in to the playoffs. If the playoffs were to start today it would look like this, #1 Rangers hosting #8 Washington, #2 Boston hosting #7 Ottawa, #3 Florida hosting #6 New Jersey and #4 Pittsburgh hosting #5 Flyers. As we’ve previously stated, being the road team against Sidney Crosby, he’s on fire with 3 – 4 point games since his return, and the Penguins isn’t the best match up for the Flyers.

The 76ers continue to mystify. They finished the week 2-2. We felt that they needed to finish the week 3-1. We didn’t expect them to beat San Antonio on the road but we did expect them to compete. They didn’t, losing 93-76. They beat Cleveland as expected but then laid their biggest egg of the season by getting blown out by the Washington Wizards, 97-76. The 76ers were never in the game and never showed they were interested. This was a game the 76ers had to win! The Wizards now have 12 wins on the season. That’s right, they are 12-39. How can you get blown out of that game?  With that lose the 76ers fell from 1st place, 4th seed overall to 2nd place and the 7th seed overall. If the season were to end today they would be in a first round matchup against the Miami Heat. That is not where they want to be.  

The 76ers have watched their Atlantic Division lead dwindle over the last month and now find themselves .5 games behind Boston and 2.5 games ahead of the New York Knicks. There are 14 games remaining in the regular season.

This week doesn’t get any easier except that there are only three games rather than four. They visit the Heat on Tuesday, host Toronto on Wednesday and host Orlando on Saturday. Reality says they will win only one of the three games. If they could manage to beat Orlando that would be a boost. They won’t beat Miami. In the meantime, the Celtics have an extremely difficult week. They host Miami and San Antonio before hitting the road for games at Chicago and Indiana. They could actually lose all four games. Looking ahead slightly, the 76ers and the Celtics play next Sunday.

As we stated last week the 76ers seem to be a team looking for a leader. Each night someone else picks up the slack but they’ve shown inconsistency night after night. Apparently, Coach Doug Collins agrees but isn’t planning on much change at this point in the season, “I don’t know what I could do, really,” he said before the meeting against the Hawks. “I think we’re still adjusting to the change I made before [by inserting Evan Turner into the starting lineup].

“We’re now in a position, hopefully, where we can start getting a little rhythm in what we’re doing. I wouldn’t want to make any other change right now.”

Coach, I hope holding steady is enough to win the Atlantic and get back to the #4 seed and a matchup with Indiana or Atlanta in the 1st round of the playoffs. Playing Miami will bring the season to a quick end.

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