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76ers-Celtics Brawl for First Place

Lou Williams has a right to be mad after blowing crucial leads and going 2-8 in their past ten games.

The Philadelphia 76ers have been in first place in the Atlantic Division almost all year. Even when the Sixers went on a five-game losing skid, they could still boast about how they were leading their division, even though it’s not much to brag about. But on March 7, the Sixers may not even have that to point to if the Celtics win this divisional matchup.

Philadelphia and Boston are meeting for the first time this season, with the stakes higher than just a few weeks ago. Thanks to the Celtics beating the Houston Rockets in overtime on March 6, they are only one game back from the Sixers for the Atlantic Division lead. With a win in Philadelphia, Boston would pull the Sixers into a virtual tie.

Given the big lead a month ago, when rumors were that the Celtics were going to blow up the Big Four, this is a bewildering situation. Yet the 76ers have done more to blow its cushion than Boston has to cut into it, at least until recently. The Celtics do have a five-game winning streak, yet if the Sixers weren’t 2-8 in their last 10 games and didn’t blow some potential statement wins, this wouldn’t be such a problem.

Philadelphia has suffered three heartbreaking losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Chicago Bulls, and the Milwaukee Bucks while Boston has won back-to-back OT games. To add insult to injury, the Sixers can’t even win a close game. Therefore, if this game comes down to the wire, the Celtics would have the decided psychological edge.

After being criticized of being too old, the Big Four have rebounded and could tie the division lead with Philly.

There have been a few low points already during this Sixers slump, yet a defeat to the Celtics would be rock bottom. Losing to Boston itself wouldn’t be rock bottom, but what the loss represents would be humiliating. Philadelphia’s Atlantic Division lead wasn’t expected to be huge forever, although losing it all this quickly and to this extent is getting embarrassing.

Boston has controlled the division ever since the Big Four was founded, but they looked too old and weary to keep the throne. This had every intention of being Philadelphia’s year, yet unfortunately, a year isn’t made up of a half-season.

The Celtics now actually have another division lead in their sights – even with trade rumors circling around them. As for the Sixers, they are just trying to hold on until they get out of this slump, or until the Celtics trade some of their stars and the New York Knicks have ‘Linsanity’ die down. Beating Boston in the highest stakes game of the season would certainly help a great deal.

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Categories: 76ers

Author:Curran Aiyer

Studying Finance, Business Analytics, and International Business at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University with a minor in Spanish. Aspiring to change the world by driving education and the importance of staying informed. Looking to share my learnings and knowledge on behavioral economics and how that correlates with investing in yourself wisely. Originally from Philadelphia and trusting the process.

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