April 9, 2010: Philadelphia 76ers guard Andre Iguodala (9) going up for the dunk while Milwaukee Bucks guard John Salmons (15) looks on during the NBA game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

It’s not quite yet the New Year, but it feels like a different season for the 76ers.

Only a third of the way through the schedule, the Sixers have climbed out of the bottom of the Eastern Conference by going 8-3 in their last 11 games, including Saturday night’s 97-89 road victory over the shorthanded Orlando Magic.

For the Sixers, it was the perfect start to perhaps the most difficult stretch of their season: an eight-game road trip filled almost entirely playoff opponents.

The Sixers, 11-16, know they must keep their heads above water during the next two weeks.

“This stretch we had coming up, was it going to be doom and gloom or was it going to be opportunity?” Sixers coach Doug Collins asked after Saturday’s win, then quickly responded: “It was an opportunity for us.”