Sixers have major opportunity to make deep playoff run with Kyrie Irving out

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24: Kyrie Irving
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24: Kyrie Irving /

With the news surrounding Kyrie Irving missing the rest of the regular season and playoffs, the Sixers are in a better position to make a deep playoff run in the Eastern Conference.

Winners of 12 games in a row, the Sixers have emerged as one of the hottest teams in the NBA since the All-Star break, and don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon, as Brett Brown has his eyes set on potentially earning the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. However, as great as Philadelphia has looked at times over the last few months, they know teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics could easily end up standing in their way of the ultimate goal, which is to earn a trip to the NBA Finals.

With that being said, the Sixers along with the rest of the NBA were stunned on Thursday with the shocking news surrounding the Celtics and how Kyrie Irving would miss not only the rest of the regular season, but playoffs as well following knee surgery, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Unfortunately, Irving has been sidelined since the middle of March, and when looking at the excitement surrounding Boston in the offseason after acquiring the star guard from Cleveland, this is a devastating blow for a team that was considered a serious contender in the Eastern Conference.

Even if the Celtics still have plenty of talent to work with come playoff time, Irving has proven to be one of those players who is irreplaceable throughout his career, and there’s no doubt this could shake up the outcome of the playoffs. For instance, if Philadelphia does end up finding a way to earn that No. 3 seed over over Cleveland, the chances of them meeting Boston in the second round seem likely, assuming they find a way to escape the first round.

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Nobody needs to explain to the Sixers just how devastating it is to deal with injuries this late in the season since the team is currently dealing with Joel Embiid recovering from a fractured orbital. Then again, when seeing how well this team has managed to play without their star center, there’s every reason in the world to feel confident about Philadelphia’s chances of continuing to be a serious threat in the postseason, and the news surrounding Irving may help those odds hit a whole new level.