With the 2013-14 season coming down to a close, it’s almost a 100% certainty that the Milwaukee Bucks will finish with the worst record in the League and have the most ping pong balls at the 2014 Draft Lottery. The 76ers had their share of chances to slide past the Bucks into the Association’s basement, but a few wins this season prevented them from doing so.
We all remember the wins against the Miami Heat, Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls, that rcoketed the Sixers out to a 3-0 start. Those are the obvious choices to make the “costly wins of the year” list. But, let’s dig a little deeper into the season, and look back and several other victories that helped cost the 76ers the best odds at the #1 draft pick in the 2014 NBA Draft as well as made Sam Hinkie’s blood boil.
The first game on the “costly wins of the year” list occurred in late November against our tanking rival the Milwaukee Bucks. The 76ers ended up winning that game against the Bucks 115-107 in overtime. Does anyone remember how that game went into overtime? I mean, how could we forget the heroics displayed by Spencer Hawes in the closing seconds of regulation? Spencer Hawes did his best Michael Jordan impression by hitting a game tying, one-legged three in the corner with only seconds left. Did I just mention Spencer Hawes and MJ in the same sentence? Yeah, it’s been a long season. In addition to the thrilling three ball, Hawes dropped 11 of his 25 points in the final two minutes of the game. In the OT session Evan Turner poured in 8 points and unfortunately the Sixers captured a W at the Wells Fargo Center.
Another winning effort that decreased our chances of securing the most ping pong balls occurred only a few days later against the Orlando Magic. Remember that one, Philadunkia nation? It took place December 3rd, and the 76ers ultimately won that game 126 -125. It was such an entertaining game, but it would’ve been even better if it were a loss. Michael Carter-Williams (27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists) and Orlando rookie Victor Oladipo (26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) had triple doubles. Arron Afflalo added a career high 43 points in a losing effort. The Magic missed 20 of their 26 T3PAs in that game and that ice cold shooting allowed teh Sixers to escape with a win. That double overtime thriller against the Magic surely was another victory on the “costly wins” list.
Boston vs. Philadelphia is definitely one of the greatest rivalries that the NBA has ever seen. The rivalry may be a little less passionate right now as both teams tanked this season — although neither Danny Ainge or Sam Hinkie will admit it. Still, on January 29th these two once proud franchises staged a classic that produced a win for the Sixers thanks to Evan Turner. I’m feeling sick to my stomach already. The buzzer beating floater from the “The Enigma” went in with no time left on the clock to seal the win in Boston. I’m still confused on how that ugly floater fell through the bottom of the net. Honestly, I don’t remember a Sixers win that had me as frustrated as that one. So I’m putting that game on the “costly wins” list.
Of course there were a few other head scratching wins this season. Victories such as the home W against Harden’s Rockets in November (Anderson’s 36 point night); the improbable 101-99 win in Portland (1/04); as well as Turner’s 34-point outburst that secured a win over the Knicks at MSG (1/22) could also be included on the list without much of an argument from me. Still, in my opinion, the contests I relived above are the ones that should be considered the “costliest wins” of the year.
The good news is that only ONCE in the past 10 years has team with the worst regular season record won the NBA Draft Lottery and thus received the No. 1 overall pick. So hopefully these “costly wins” won’t come back to haunt Hinkie on May 20th and our 76ers capture a win in 2014 that Philadunkia nation can actually celebrate.
Rich Iacuzio is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twiiter @richiacuzio.
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