By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
The zombie Sixers will conclude their long trudge to the finish line tonight at Madison Square Garden. It will be the last chance for Dario Saric to make a case for his Rookie of the Year candidacy. Most importantly though, hopefully, tonight will be the last time for many, many years, when fans are hoping for anything but a Sixers win.
Philadelphia is deadlocked with Orlando with the 4th-worst record in the league. As it stands, they each receive 103 or 104 lottery balls next month in the secret back room of the league’s lottery. If either team separates from the other via a win tonight (Orlando plays host to Detroit), it will have significant implications on the team’s chances at a higher pick.
Both Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis are likely sitting out tonight, but with the Knicks either finishing 6th-worst or tied for 6th-worst, I’d like to believe their tanking incentive is lower. Avenge your brother’s trade with a big night, Justin Holiday! I’ll lay out the full odds below.
In other news, I’m happy to report that thanks to the Lakers beating New Orleans last night (their 5th straight win!!!), they are locked into the 3rd-worst record in the league. There will be a 53.1% chance that the Sixers receive the pick this summer. My fingers will be metaphorically crossed for the next four weeks straight.
As for Sacramento, the plucky Kings defeated Phoenix last night, moving them into a tie for the NBA’s 8th-worst record with Dallas. The Kings are on the road against the Clippers tonight, who are deadlocked with Utah in the battle to see who gets home-court advantage in their first-round matchup. Sacramento can fall anywhere from tied for 9th-worst with New Orleans to tied for 7th-worst with Minnesota.
Lakers pick (locked into 3rd-worst record):
– 53.1% chance of conveying (4th – 22.6%; 5th – 26.5%; 6th – 4.0%)
Sixers pick (currently tied with Orlando for 4th-worst record):
Sixers -3 @ New York
Magic -2 vs. Detroit
– Both Sixers and Magic win or both lose – each team receives 103 lottery balls. A coin flip determines who receives a 104th lottery ball, as well as which team drafts 4th and which 5th if neither moves into the top-3.
– Either Sixers or Magic win with the other losing – loser receives 119 lottery balls and the winner receives 88.
Sacramento Swap (currently tied with Dallas for 8th-worst record):
Kings +15.5 @ Clippers
Pelicans @ Trailblazers (no line posted)
Mavericks +7.5 @ Grizzlies
Timberwolves +8 @ Rockets
As mentioned above, the Kings are tied with Dallas and sit one game below New Orleans and one game above Minnesota. I’m not going to go into all the iterations here. Just know you’re rooting for the Clippers, Pelicans, Mavericks, and Wolves. Happy end to the regular season!