Make it six seasons in a row.
With the Cavaliers’ win Tuesday night over the Nets, the Sixers officially clinched their sixth consecutive playoff appearance.
At 48-23, the Sixers have 11 regular-season games left and sit third in the Eastern Conference standings. Ahead of the No. 2 seed Celtics’ road game Tuesday against the Kings, the Sixers trailed Boston by a half-game. The Sixers and Celtics will play on April 4 in Philadelphia. Boston won the season’s first three matchups.
The 39-33 Nets are a potential first-round opponent for the Sixers. They’re sixth in the East standings, a half-game in front of the Heat. The seventh through 10th seeds will compete in the play-in tournament.
Seven of the Sixers’ last 11 games are on the road, including their next four against Chicago, Golden State, Phoenix and Denver. They’ll wrap up the regular season on April 9 in Brooklyn.
Dating back to a tremendous comeback victory over the top-seeded Bucks, the Sixers have won six straight road games. During head coach Doc Rivers’ tenure, they’ve gone 69-42 away from home.
“I think the main thing is you have to bring your own energy,” Shake Milton said on March 14. “Everybody in the arena is damn near against you, and you’ve got to have that ‘It’s just us’ mentality. I know at home it’s a little bit easier for us, just because the fans give us that extra boost and we definitely don’t want to let them down.
“On the road, we’ve just done a good job from top to bottom … of just being ready and bringing our own energy, whether that be from some of our top guys with the words that they use or the guys on the bench clapping it up and supporting our teammates. I think the support has just been a team-round thing, and everybody kind of bounces off one another to get their energy boost and get their mind in the right space to compete. I think that’s what’s helped us.”
While the Sixers would certainly prefer earning the highest seed possible, the team’s main goal has long been deep success in the playoffs themselves during 29-year-old MVP contender Joel Embiid’s prime.
After a 12-12 start, they’ve again comfortably qualified for the postseason.
“It’s not easy to win in this league,” Embiid said Monday night following the Sixers’ double-overtime loss to the Bulls. “You’ve got to take it one game at a time. When we’re at our best, we’ve got a chance against anybody.
“Even when we’re not, we’ve still got to find ways. Like tonight, we were not good enough. We’ve just got to find ways to be at our best every game.”
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