As we are all aware by now the NBA released their entire regular season schedule last night and the Philadelphia 76ers have a few interesting games early in the season. For a young team that consists of inexperienced rookies, it is extremely imperative for the 76ers to start the 2017 season with victories. The first few games of their schedule consist of Eastern Conference games against three opponents who made the playoffs last year. Their fourth game is against the Detroit Pistons but games five through seven will be the most important games of the 76ers schedule. These games will dictate the 76ers season for a few reasons.
The fifth game of the season for the 76ers is the first game against a Western Conference opponent. This game features the Houston Rockets, who arguably made the biggest off season acquisition when they traded for all star point guard, Chris Paul. For both the Rockets and 76ers, chemistry will be a huge factor in the early parts of the NBA season. Combining the skill set of Chris Paul with their franchise player, James Harden, the Rockets have a problem most teams would love to encounter. The adversity of facing two all star players might be too much for a young nucleus, especially a nucleus that will only have four games playing with one another. A huge positive regarding this early contest is the fact the 76ers get to play the Rockets in front of the fans at the Wells Fargo Center. However, the negative is the fact just five days later the 76ers have to play the Rockets in Houston in front of their home crowd. A home-and- home series that early in the season versus a team like Houston could either be an early heart breaker for the young 76ers or it could be the energy and confidence boost that this team needs to succeed.
Sandwiched between that home-and-home, is an away game against the Dallas Mavericks. Sure last year Dallas finished with a record of 33-49 but a veteran laden team like the Mavericks is a tough test for the rookies of the 76ers. This season could be the last campaign for Dirk Nowitzki, who will retire as one of the best players in Mavericks history. There is no doubt the Mavericks will be ready to bounce back from a poor 2017. This game will feature experience against the rawness of the 76ers. It is vital that this young team does not get bullied by the leadership of the Dallas Mavericks.
These three games will certainly be the first real test of the 76ers season. f the 76ers follow their first four games of the season with three consecutive losses versus the Western Conference, that might be cause the young core to fully lose confidence. That would result in the 2017 season becoming another campaign where 76ers fans are told to “trust the process.” On the other hand, if somehow these rookies find a way to win in these three contests that might become the start of something special in the City of Brotherly Love that the fans so hopelessly deserve.
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