Sixers' Turner: 'We think we can win out'

Lou Williams and the 76ers celebrate a home win over the awful Cavaliers. The Sixers will close out the season primarily on the road, primarily against losing teams. RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Lou Williams and the 76ers celebrate a home win over the awful Cavaliers. The Sixers will close out the season primarily on the road, primarily against losing teams. RON CORTES / Staff Photographer (Lou Williams and the 76ers)
Posted: March 29, 2012

When the 76ers schedule for this lockout-shortened season was released, the beginning and the end were eye-catching.

The Sixers opened the season with five straight road games against Western Conference teams. They were the last team to play their home opener, and that was 11 days after the season began.

The season will end on the road with five straight games and nine of the last 11 played in venues not called the Wells Fargo Center, where the Sixers have forged an 18-10 record.

But the Sixers aren't looking at it as playing games away from home. That is not the challenge. What they are focusing on is the strength of their schedule as well as the records of division rivals Boston and New York.

After their 103-85 win over hapless Cleveland on Tuesday night - even with the absence of starting small forward Andre Iguodala - the Sixers (28-22) held a half-game lead over Boston (27-22) and a three-game lead over New York (25-25) going into Wednesday's games.

"We think we have a winnable schedule. We think we can win out," said Sixers guard Evan Turner. "That's pretty much it. We all believe we can win out. We've just got to come out and play with intensity and play tough."

The Sixers don't play again until Friday, when they will be at Washington (11-38).

Of the Sixers' remaining 16 games, just five are at home. However, nine of their remaining games are against teams with records under .500. The combined winning percentage of those teams is .466.

Meanwhile, Boston, with 17 games to play heading into Wednesday, faces just five teams with losing records, and overall those teams have a .531 winning percentage. This includes three games with Miami (35-13), two with Atlanta (30-21), and a game each against Chicago (40-11) and Orlando (32-18).

The Knicks face six teams with losing records among their final 17 games. However, on top of losing starting forward Amar'e Stoudemire for at least the next two weeks with a bulging disk in his back, they still have a pair of games each against Chicago, Orlando, and Atlanta. They also have games against Indiana (29-19) and the Los Angeles Clippers (28-21).

The Sixers are finished playing the Knicks but have one more game with Boston. Meanwhile, Boston and the Knicks still must face each other one more time.

Starting with Utah on Wednesday, eight of the Celtics' next nine opponents are above .500. Conversely, the Sixers play just four teams - Miami, Orlando, Boston, and Indianapolis - that have winning records.

While the Sixers' final five games of the season are on the road, all but one of those games are against teams with losing records. On the season, the Sixers are 18-5 against teams with losing records.

Turner said that the Sixers won't be overconfident.

"It's important to not overlook them because they are playing with 'house money,' " he said. "They might not make the playoffs so they are playing without fear and all the pressure is on us. So we can't overlook them.

"We have to come out and compete and treat every game the same because all of those teams have weapons."


Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow him on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.

 

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