As I type this, the Sixers are about 1 hour away from tipping off at home against the Knicks, who for all intents and purposes, should be tanking. Generally, it seems like almost no teams actually are tanking this year, which has meant for many would-be blowouts ending up close, and much less garbage time around the league. For fucks sakes, the Magic are in the playoff race.
Regardless, I’m really, really hoping this game can get put away early. The team has had one game off the top of my head, against the Bulls, that had real, true-life garbage time. This has not gone without consequences, as Embiid has played some of the most minutes in the league, and the most at the Center position. The team has also played the most games thus far, with more back to backs than many teams. As gassed as the team and specifically Embiid seem at times, it will only get easier as they have an easier, more spread-out schedule later in the year. Hopefully, this allows them to finish strong and carry some momentum into the playoffs, in which they can host most likely 1 series, possibly 2. With this in mind, I’d really like to see Embiid or Butler play 30ish minutes if possible, although New York has proven an unwilling victim against other teams thus far.
Another reason I hope this game goes to garbage time is that I would like to see Butler get some more time on the court in a primary play-maker role. The team having 3 top 25 players is great in that if each of those 3 guys can work well with the ball in their hand in isolation (as well as together, of course) then that provides a ton of flexibility in the lineups going forward, and allows for plenty of staggering while keeping one or two of the star talents on the court which should help keep the efficiency up even when the starters have started to come out (and before crunch time where they would all be back in). Either way, this game has the opportunity to be a game with some restful minutes, as well as some open-field experimentation to help better integrate Butler, by way of some low-pressure situations to get his shots off.