By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
Until next year, Sixers fans. pic.twitter.com/867KEvoFcM
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 13, 2017
New York 114, Philadelphia 113 – Box Score
They did it! All the Marshall Plumlee playing time in the world couldn’t keep the Sixers from what was rightfully theirs – sole possession of the 4th-worst record in the league and all the juicy lottery balls that come with it.
In a game that was more or less a farce, with as many open three pointers and uncontested drives to the rim as the All-Star game, the outcome remained in doubt up until the very last seconds. After Justin Holiday and Nik Stauskas exchanged triples, a jumper from all-around terrific person Maurice Ndour found front iron, backboard, and rim again, before falling through and putting the Knicks back in front. On Philadelphia’s final possession of the season, Stauskas was blocked by Plumlee on a drive, and after a subsequent jump ball, Sauce missed a final three-pointer to send the Sixers to glorious defeat.
With the loss, and Orlando defeating Detroit in another game that went down to the wire Wednesday night, the Sixers no longer have to split any lottery balls with the Magic. They have a full complement of 119 lottery balls for their own pick, which means an 11.9% chance at first overall and 37.8% at a top-three selection. Except…
We also have to factor in the Sacramento pick swap. If the Kings lose as expected to the Clippers (update: the Kings did lose), they will finish in sole possession of the 8th-worst record. Those extra lottery balls would bump the Sixers’ chance of the first overall pick up to 14.7% with close to a 50-50 shot at a top-3 pick (45.3% to be precise).
So thank you to Dario Saric for only playing 81 games and sitting out this finale. Thanks to TJ McConnell for only playing 19 minutes. No thanks to Justin Anderson for clearly trying three times as hard as anyone on the court and scoring a career-high 26 points on 9-10 shooting. Thanks to Brett Brown for sitting Anderson down the stretch.
Fingers crossed for lottery night.