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April 24, 2023

When does Sixers’ second round series start?

When will the Sixers's second-round playoff series start? Here are the potential dates.

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Sixers-Celtics-Al-Horford-Joel-Embiid-April-2023 Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

The Celtics' Al Horford and the Sixers' Joel Embiid go for the opening tip-off.

The Sixers were the first (and as of yet, only) team to finish off their first-round series. It earned them some precious time off with Joel Embiid on the mend but leaves the start of the second round fluid for the time being.

Fortunately, the NBA has provided you with a rough estimate of when the Sixers will continue their quest for a championship. And on first glance, if we assume the Celtics are going to win their series, it might be better to get it done sooner than later.

But hold that thought — here are the two potential outcomes and how they’ll impact round two. 

If the Celtics finish their series vs. Atlanta in five games

Game 1 — Saturday, April 29th

Game 2 — Monday, May 1st

Game 3 — Friday, May 5th

Game 4 — Sunday, May 7th

Game 5 (if necessary)  — Tuesday, May 9th

Game 6 (if necessary) — Thursday, May 11th

Game 7 (if necessary) — Sunday, May 14th

If Celtics-Hawks lasts at least six games 

Game 1 — Monday, May 1st

Game 2 — Wednesday, May 3rd

Game 3 — Friday, May 5th

Game 4 — Sunday, May 7th

Game 5 (if necessary)  — Tuesday, May 9th

Game 6 (if necessary)  — Thursday, May 11th

Game 7 (if necessary)  — Sunday, May 14th

The basic line of thought is that you'd want to get Joel Embiid as much time off as possible prior to the second round starting, given how uncertain his availability feels at the moment. 

"I just don't know," Doc Rivers said following their Game 4 win over Brooklyn when asked whether Embiid would be ready for the start of the second round. "I would say it's the same percentage I said before the game, probably 50 percent at best."

That would appear to make everyone in the Philadelphia area fans of the Hawks for the time being, as even one win would allow the Sixers to keep Embiid rested up until next Monday.

(There's also the small matter of opponent quality, obviously, and any outcome where the Sixers get to play the Hawks in round two is a good one. Famous last words, of course, but it doesn't appear that will matter regardless, as the Celtics appear to have this series wrapped up.)

There is one small consideration to make regarding the different schedules, though. If the Hawks extend the series, the trade-off for having a longer lead-in period is being on a shorter recovery timeline for the duration of round two. That series would be played every other day leading into a potential Game 7, which leaves you vulnerable during the series. If we assume that Embiid is going to have to play with some degree of pain/injury during the second round regardless, having some time to rest and recuperate in the middle of the series could be an important swing factor. And that's without factoring in how the stacked schedule impacts everyone else. For example, will James Harden's night-to-night production be impacted by a more congested series? 

With both options having their pitfalls, I think the easy answer to root for from the Sixers' perspective is just to hope the worse team prevails in Celtics-Hawks, giving you an easier matchup and homecourt in the second round. At the least, you hope that these teams have to battle for a couple of more games. 

If Atlanta can take even a small chunk out of Boston, you take what you can get, because Philadelphia is fighting an uphill battle in this next series in almost every scenario. Either way, it's a waiting game in Philadelphia. 

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