After a crushing loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night it is easy to press the panic button and jump ship but we are not there yet. 

The Celtics and the Sixers are two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams and it was on full display in their prime time match up last night. The Sixers and Celtics traded 10+ point leads late in the game and the Celtics were the ones to prevail on a game winning Jayson Tatum three with 1.3 seconds remaining. The Sixers, without a timeout, gave it to Joel Embiid who promptly drilled a full court shot to tie it just a tenth of a second too late. 

While there is a number of things that the loss can be blamed on, at the end of the day the Sixers went toe to toe with the consensus top team in the Eastern Conference which is a very good sign. Over the last month, James Harden has been the perfect co-star for Embiid and has shown up night after night in a contract year. Last night, Joel Embiid played 40 minutes and in the 8 minutes that he sat, the Sixers were -11, that is not going to happen again.

This Sixers team as presently constructed is figuring out how to win, and they certainly have been doing a lot of that thus far. The Sixers have the best record in the NBA since December 1st and have cemented themselves as one of the top teams in the conference. It is okay to take a loss against a tough opponent in February to learn from it and beat them when it matters in April. 

The Sixers remaining 23 games are nothing to scoff at though. The team plays the Celtics one more time, the Heat three more times, the Bucks two more times, and have games against the Warriors, Mavericks, Suns, and Nuggets all mixed in as well. The remaining schedule is certainly tough, it will likely tell us everything we need to know about this team and whether or not we should be panicking come crunch time, but for now we can pump the breaks, the team is still in a good position. 


Photo via USA TODAY Sports – Bill Streicher

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