In a game which they had to lose, if facing the Bulls instead of the Heat in the first round is preferable (Evan Turner thinks it is), the Sixers just couldn't help but win. You can't expect the players to tank, and I suppose leaving three of his best players behind in Pennsylvania and a fourth in street clothes was as far as Doug Collins was willing to go in the tanking direction. Luckily, the Knicks pulled out a win over the Clippers, so it's no harm no foul. (game capsule)
I realize we had a lot of fun in the game thread tonight rooting for a loss, but at the same time you have to love the effort the diminished roster gave. Milwaukee was terrible, but in the fastest-paced game of the season, without four key players, the Sixers really took care of the ball and gave a great defensive effort. Whether a win may or may not be in their best interest, you never want to see players go out there and dog it. So good work.
Here's your rotation chart. Note that Collins only had one run with both Jrue and Turner on the bench:
As for my keys to the game heading in, Jodie certainly shot the ball better (3/7 from three), but it's really not a good sign that he's dribbling and driving so much. That's not his job. His job is to hit the threes when he gets the passes, not fake them and take the ball into the paint. Turner got his shots up and seemed to play pretty well with Jrue. Jrue didn't take a ton of shots, and his jumper seemed off, so that's a negative. Spencer Hawes continued to earn a diminished role in the first round (though I'm afraid Collins is going to try focus on him since he made comments about how you need bigs who can shoot jumpers against Chicago). Voose looked like a corpse, but Lavoy was extremely active on the glass. For my money, Lavoy has to be the starting center for game one, no matter who the opponent is.
Player of The Game: Turner. His 29 shots for 29 points doesn't detract from the 13 boards, 6 dimes, 2 blocks and only 2 turnovers. Had they lost, Hawes would've gotten the bizarro player of the game for his incongruous 3/13 from the floor and +16 +/-.
Team Record: 35-30
Up Next: @ Detroit, Thursday night.
Playoff Race: The Knicks won, so it's going to come down to the final game of the season. If the Knicks can beat the Bobcats, the Sixers finish in 8th no matter what they do. Unfortunately, both games start at 8pm, so the Sixers won't know heading into the game. If the Sixers lose, they're #8 automatically.