Much to our excitement, the 76ers schedule for 2012-13 schedule was released yesterday. And while there are still some decisions to be made about the Sixers roster as well of those of the rest of the NBA, we took a stab at analyzing the upcoming 82-game slate.
Since most NBA rosters are no yet finalized, we had to make a lot of asssumptions based on what the teams looked like last year and the pieces they have subtracted and/or added this off-season, so we reserve the right to make some changes after the free agent season comes to a halt.
With those assumptions in mind we believe Sixers fans will be very pleased to learn that after a potentially brutal kickoff to the 2012-13 season, we are predicting a solid first month for the Sixers in 2012-13. However, a fast start may be cancelled out completely if the 7-6 can not keep it together during the brutal stretch the scheduling gods have planned for Doug Collins and Co. in December.
Merry Christmas Philadunkia nation, from the NBA scheduling gods.
Tough early stretch:
Interestingly enough, the Sixers will get their toughest stretch to start the season in their very first five games.
October 31st – Nov. 9th : DEN; @ NYK; NYK; @ NOH and @ BOS
For the Sixers to come out of this stretch with a winning record will be a stretch in itself. Denver is one of the most talented and well coached teams in the League, the Knicks are always a tough match-up for the Sixers, the Hornets are all of a sudden one of the youngest and most exciting teams in the League, and the Celtics are still just as good if not better than they were a year ago.
Realistically I see the Sixers going 1-4 on this trip. At best they go 2-3. I see the Nuggets and Celtics easily beating the 7-6. There’s a slight chance that the Sixers could take one of the two games against the Knicks, but the Knicks have gotten the better of the Sixers in the past few seasons. I do think the Sixers will beat the Hornets, but not by much. Expect it to take the Sixers a few games until they find the right lineup that works and right formula for the distribution of minutes. Practicing in the summer together doesn’t necessarily translate all that well into an NBA regular season.
The month that could derail the Sixers season: December
12/1: @ CHI
12/4 vs. MIN
12/7 vs. BOS
12/8 @ BOS
12/10 vs. DET
12/12 vs. CHI
12/14 @ IND
12/16 vs. LAL
12/18 @ DAL
12/19 @ HOU
12/21 vs. ATL
12/23 @ BKN
12/26 @ MEM
12/28 @ GSW
12/29 @ POR
I tried to find the toughest short stretch of games the Sixers will play next season (because we usually try to separate this stretch from the toughest month) but my eyes kept getting drawn back into the month of December. In their 15 games for the month of December, the Sixers will play seven 2012 NBA playoff teams, nine out of these 15 games will be played on the road, and by New Year’s everybody in Philadelphia will know whether or not this team will be able to survive the following 51 games of the NBA regular season.
The month starts in Chicago, where Tom Thibodeau’s Bulls hold one of the NBA’s most stifling defenses. Then it’s back home for a games against the rising T’Wolves and always consistent Celtics. Then the Sixers have a four game stretch where they face Boston and Indiana on the road with Chicago and Detroit at home. Next the Lakers have their annual “welcome back to Philly, Kobe” game against the Sixers, before they play six of their next seven games on the road. They start off on the road against Dallas and Houston, than come home for a game against the Hawks, before packing their suitcases again for games against Brooklyn, Memphis, Golden State, and Portland.
Examining this month I think the Sixers at best go 7-8. Even though the Sixers did win their series against the Bulls last year, I think the Bulls will have their number this season. I also believe the Celtics will be a better team next season with the additions they made, as well as from the extra rest they’ll get between games next season. The Pacers, Lakers, and Nets I think are just flat out better teams than the Sixers and will give the Sixers more than they can handle. If they lose these games, that’s already seven losses and I wouldn’t put it past the Sixers to slip up against one of the other teams on the list. The T’Wolves, Pistons, Rockets, Grizzlies, Warriors, and Trailblazers will all be borderline playoff teams next season and expect at least one of them to get the best of the Sixers.
The easiest month: November
No month is all that easy for the Sixers, but in November to start the season they’ll at least have a chance to gain some momentum for a a good portion of it. After their tough 5-games to start the year, the Sixers then face Toronto, Milwaukee, Detroit, Utah, Cleveland, Toronto and Cleveland again in their next seven games. There’s no reason why they can’t win all of those games. Then the Sixers get their last real test of the month going up against Kevin Durant’s Thunder at home, before finishing up against Phoenix, Dallas, and Charlotte. The Sixers should be able to go 10-1 in this stretch. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t. The Thunder are truly the only team on the list that should really give the Sixers too much trouble. Including the first four games of the month, the Sixers have a chance to go 12-3 for November. Not a bad start to the season at all.
The toughest back-to-back:
January 4th and 5th…What’s harder than playing the Thunder on the road? Playing the Spurs on the road in the very next game. The Consol Energy Center is known throughout the league as the toughest arena to play at in the NBA. Regardless of the outcome the Sixers will be worn out from the match-up nightmares that are Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. The last thing they’ll want to do is go up against the most well coached team in the NBA in the Spurs. Be honest with yourself: Expect two losses.
The toughest road trip:
The Sixers Christmas present this year is a brutal road trip from the end of December into early January. It’s nearly as brutal as this rendition from Sixers past of the singing of Frosty the Snowman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9kj-L5khqo&feature=youtube_gdata_player
From Dec. 23 to Jan. 5th the Sixers will play eight games on the road. They’ll face the Nets, Grizzlies, Warriors, Trailblazers, Lakers, Suns, Thunder, and Spurs. Splitting the road trip is what’s most likely to happen, but it’s hard to judge. Playing on the road is not an easy task, especially against teams of this caliber. Being away from home around the holidays is even tougher.
LeBron James and the NBA champion Heat come to town on Wednesday, March 13th.
Lower Merion product Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers make their annual appearance on Sunday, December 16th.
Going through the twitter feeds we learn that new Sixer @Dwrightway1 ran into former Eagle Terrell Owens yesterday.
Other new Sixer @Nickswagypyoung checked out Jim’s Steaks on South Street.
And, soccer team Manchester United hooked up our man Dre with some sweet new threads during his trip in London with Team USA.