Coach Brett Brown and his Sixers are finally starting to see results, with wins in seven of their last nine games (TastyPoutine/Creative Commons).
With every team at or beyond the midpoint of its regular-season schedule, it could not be a better time to assess how each squad measures up. Some teams will be celebrating All-Star starter selections just named, while many others are confronting serious injuries. Amid this crazy time, the 76ers jumped nine slots, leaving the league’s cellar thanks to a mighty strong start to 2017. Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic have experienced the league’s steepest declines in recent weeks.
Biggest Jumps: Philadelphia 76ers (+9), Washington Wizards (+4), Detroit Pistons (+4), Denver Nuggets (+4)
Biggest Falls: Sacramento Kings (-8), Charlotte Hornets (-8), Orlando Magic (-7)
Over a year after a gruesome injury that sidelined him for nearly the entirety of the 2014-2015 season, Paul George seems to have returned to form as one of the NBA’s elite (joshuak8/Flickr).
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As we enter the stretch run, the Eastern Conference playoff picture is wide open, with ample room for jockeying. Jared Wade of Fansided’s 8 Points 9 Seconds stops by to illuminate the Indiana Pacers’ postseason prospects. The team boasts a healthy Paul George, as well as brand new contributors Monta Ellis and Myles Turner and a “defensive genius” in Frank Vogel. If you ask Wade, the rest of the East, outside of Cleveland and Toronto, better watch out! Choice cuts below:
2:05-4:05 on the difference between last season and this for the Pacers: “Obviously Paul George… It’s changed the whole team him being there. Monta Ellis has been a big lift… The defense is still strong. Even with the lack of Roy Hibbert and David West, they’ve changed to a more turnover-forcing defense and they get a lot of points in transition… Myles Turner has proved that he deserves to be in the starting lineup and he’s been a force.”
5:10-6:43 on how Paul George has recovered from his devastating injury: “I think he’s as good as he was. In some ways, he’s improved… He was arguably the second best player in basketball through December 1st.”