Overcoming adversity. That is how one can only explain the Sixers come from behind victory against the Miami Heat on Saturday to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. Led by youth in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, rarely has it been that young players can carry a team with the way they have lead thus far.
You saw it on Saturday with Ben Simmons’ game-sealing slam dunk to propel the Sixers during his postseason triple-double.
Ben Simmons is just one different type of rookie. #NBAPlayoffs
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) April 21, 2018
One thing is for sure, this is not the Sixers of the past, this is the Sixers of the present and the future.
With the way the Eastern Conference is shaping up, the Sixers have a great chance to play themselves into an NBA Finals. The teams around them (Raptors, Celtics, and Cavaliers) have all shown signs of vulnerability at the end of the year and in their postseason thus far.
In an article from FiveThirtyEight, the statistics from their latest playoff predictions model shows a lot of love going towards the Sixers way currently.
Currently, the team with the highest percentage to win the NBA Finals, according to the projections listed in the model, is the Houston Rockets at 41%. That does not come as a surprise as they look to be the team to beat in the Western Conference unless the Warriors have something to say about that.
For the team with the second highest percentage to win the NBA Finals, though, is not the Toronto Raptors, not the Cavaliers, but the Philadelphia 76ers.
Yup, that’s right. The team that won 10 games two years ago, 28 last year, and the team that has been ridiculed for what they did to get to this point, has the second highest odds to win the NBA Finals at 14%.
The two teams behind the Sixers are the Toronto Raptors (11%) and the Golden State Warriors at (10%).
They also put a 40 percent chance the Sixers represent the East in the Finals. The Raptors (32%), Cavaliers (12%), Celtics (8%), and Pacers (5%) all follow.
There is no reason to believe the Sixers can’t come out the Eastern Conference. The Sixers can end their first-round series tomorrow night vs. the Heat in Game 5 in Philadelphia, which would give them the most rest possible in the East as the rest of the Eastern Conference series now will go at least six games.
Philadelphia will now be rooting for the Bucks to win their series as the Sixers would get the home-court advantage if they take care of the Heat, and move onto the semi-finals. The Celtics, however, would obtain home-court vs. Philadelphia in the semi-finals.
A Boston vs. Philadelphia series would be a dogfight as the two rivals have not been this touted as franchises during the same year since the 1980’s. It would be a great series to watch.
One thing we do know is this Philadelphia team is for real behind Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. With the talent around them playing at an all-time high, there is no reason to believe this team can’t come out of the East.