June 7, 2023

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid reacts after the 76ers won an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Friday, March 10, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

For the 6th year in a row, the Philadelphia 76ers are going to the playoffs.

The Sixers are currently 0.5 games back of the Boston Celtics and are the number 3 seed. With a record of 49-23, they would be 1 seed in the Western Conference, but unfortunately, the Sixers have played in a tougher conference this season.

The Sixers have not made the Eastern Conference Finals since 2001. To put in perspective how long ago that was, every person born in the year 2001 can now legally drink. To say that Sixers fans are starving for a deep playoff run would be a gross understatement. Through the post-Iverson era and the process, one thing has remained the same, playoff failures.

As of right now, the Sixers would face off with the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs. This would be a very favorable matchup for the Sixers, and one they should win easily. If the Sixers catch the Celtics and the number 2 seed, they would face off with the Miami Heat. While Miami has had a tough regular season, I would have some worries about facing them in the postseason. While I think the Sixers would win the series, Miami knocked them out of the playoffs last year, and Jimmy Butler always seems to elevate his game in the spring.

As it looks right now the 76ers are pretty much locked into the 2nd or 3rd seed. Assuming they win their first-round matchup, that would mean a date with the Celtics in the second round. The Celtics have been the 76ers’ kryptonite since their streak of winning seasons began. The Sixers are 0-2 vs the Celtics in the playoff series with one of them being a sweep. The Celtics have been struggling recently with star player Jayson Tatum having a poor stretch. One of the biggest factors in this potential series would be who ends up with the 2 seed and home-court advantage. While the 76ers have been eliminated on their home court each of the last two seasons, I would still want a potential game 7 in Philadelphia.

The 76ers must advance past the second round this season. With Harden entering free agency, a potential Tobias Harris trade, and a looming Maxey extension, this could be their best shot. If they fail to do so, this team could look very different next season.

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