Last night down at the Wachovia Center the 76ers (26-53) featuring Eddie Jordan’s “small lineup” staged a tremendous rally and nearly erased a 12-point half-time deficit before falling to the Milwaukee Bucks 95-90.
If the 76ers would have shown up in the first half (only 36 points) or would have made some of the their free throws (9-20) or could have remotely put the defensive clamps on Carlos Delfino of the Bucks (23 points & 5 dimes) they may have been able to pull this one out. That however would have been very unfortunate event for those of us who are stalking the Sixers NBA Lottery position, because when you look around the NBA scoreboard from last night, a lot of things went the Sixers way.
Here’s what we are talking about…
Washington went into Boston and got a W (106-96).
Indiana defeated the Cavs in Cleveland (116-113).
The Detroit Pistons went down to South Beach and took care of the Heat (106-99).
Those results combined with the Sixers L last night means that with three games remaining in the NBA season, the Sixers currently sit in the 7th spot for the NBA Lottery. They’re 1.5 games out of the 4th spot (Currently held by the 25-54 Kings.) and only two games out of third spot (Currently held by the 24-54 GSW.). We can not stress how important it is for the Sixers to lose-out in 2009-10. Even so much as one win could push the Sixers back to the 8th or 9th spot which would be a disaster.
We like the Sixers chances of taking a L again tonight in Memphis. Both teams are coming off the front end of a back-to-back set — Memphis won in San Antonio last night, while the Sixers lost at home. Still we like Memphis in this one because the Sixers are playing for a lame duck coach and already have “one foot at the pool or on the golf course” while the Grizz are looking to close out a solid rebuilding year on a positive note. Additionally, Zach Randolph was a beast last night in SA (28 & 13) and with Brand anchored to the bench while Eddie Jordan’s “small lineup” runs wild and plays no interior defense, Z-Bo may hit for 50 tonight. Finally, the Grizzlies are paying tribute to all of Grizz Nation with Fan Appreciation Night tonight at their final home game of the season. So you know after the Memphis faithful receive their free Zach Randolph t-shirts that they will be fired up and ready to support the home team.
The combination of a tired Sixers squad (They did not arrive in Memphis until 3am this morning because of mechanical issues with their plane.), a rolling Zach Randolph and a raucous Memphis crowd should be enough to do in the Sixers tonight.