Let's dive right into this.
The Bobcats have played the 76ers twice this season and lost both games by an average of 8.5 points. That's a manageable margin, and when you factor in that the 76ers have pretty much fallen off a cliff since midway through the season, a win seems possible. Likely, even.
I don't know why Philly is so dysfunctional. I mean, I do, but I don't understand why. It all starts with their coach, Doug Collins.
Collins is one of the best coaches in the league, but he's also one of the most stubborn, arrogant, bull-headed S.O.B.s (a description I'm sure he'd love) in the entire world. He's exceptionally good at what he does, but he struggles to keep a level head during the highs and lows of a season. In turn, he alienates his players and limits the potential of his team.
A wonderful little quote I heard the other day said it best. Brent Barry on NBATV said he asked a Philly player at the end of last season what they learned from Collins. The player said, "I think we taught Doug more than he taught us." That's probably not the exact quote, but you get the point.
Without Andrew Bynum to bolster their front line, Philly has relied on production from youngsters like Lavoy Allen and Arnett Moultrie. Spencer Hawes has had some terrific games this season, but he's mightily inconsistent. Kwame Brown is also on the team, but he's fallen out of the rotation. Free Kwame, or something.
This is a blessing, because the Bobcats' front line isn't very good either. This levels the playing field a bit, and allows the team to focus on stopping the 76ers main threats: Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young, and Evan Turner.
Holiday and Young are having great individual years, while Evan Turner continues to polarize Philly's fan base. No one is sure if he's good yet. It's easy to see that he's very talented, but he doesn't grasp the game well (for a second pick in a draft, anyway) and doesn't know his limitations in the NBA.
Off of the bench, Philly has a bunch of explosive wings that have very similar roles: score or die trying. The aforementioned gunners? Nick Young, Dorell Wright, and Jason Richardson. Unfortunately for the 76ers, J-Rich had season-ending surgery in February, and like many of the 76ers' players, Young and Wright have been very inconsistent this season.
Their defense isn't elite, their offense is far from it, and they don't seem to care. Conversely, the Bobcats' defense and offense has been much improved over the last week or two, and they're riding on a high.
This game certainly looks winnable.