A year ago, the Sixers led the Atlantic Division for much of the lockout-shortened season. They were eventually overtaken by the Celtics for the top spot in the division, but the Sixers did win four straight road games to clinch the eighth and final playoff spot in the East in the closing week of the season.
The Sixers followed up with a 13-game postseason run that entertained the fans and fulfilled Doug Collins’ promise of making the team relevant in this city again.
The climb to the Eastern Conference semifinals was long and arduous. It took nine years, required seven head coaches, including two interim coaches, to get to a place Larry Brown took the franchise four times in his six seasons at the helm.
Nine months later, that level of success is likely out of reach and quite possibly for the foreseeable future.
The Sixers are just a half-game above Toronto for the worst record in the Atlantic Division at 22-32. They lost five straight games entering Monday night.
Andrew Bynum is still sidelined and has missed a career-high 55 games and counting.
It was believed that Bynum would speak to the media prior to the Sixers’ game on Tuesday with the Magic but that did not take place. The big man still has not spoken since taking part in five-on-five practice last Friday for the first time this season.
The drawn-out recovery process for bone bruises in Bynum’s knees is testing people’s patience, whether it is fans or those in the organization. Questions are presented to the Sixers on a regular basis that only Bynum has the answers to at this point.
“You have to talk to him about that,” Collins said Monday when asked if Bynum would be in uniform in the next week or two. “I think the one thing I have been very consistent with is that I am just the messenger. You have to talk to the athlete. He knows how he feels. Again, I am not trying to dodge, but I think it is unfair for me to speak for someone else.”
Bynum was also noticeably not present on the Sixers’ bench during the first half of their tilt against Orlando, though a team spokesperson said he is in the building.