Philadelphia News & Search
NEW YORK, NY – Inside the 76ers locker room Wednesday, before their 82nd and final outing this season, there was a sentiment that team should simply go out and enjoy itself, having one last chance to play together.
The group’s effort in a hard-fought, evenly-played match-up at Madison Square Garden reflected that spirit. A season-ending victory, however, was not to be.
Maurice Ndor sunk a step-back 15-foot jump shot in the lane with 18 seconds to go, and Nik Stauskas misfired on a 3-point look at the horn, allowing the Knicks to escape with a 114-113 triumph.
That the Sixers and New York battled down to the wire was nothing new, at least in this year’s edition of the long-standing Atlantic Division rivalry. Wednesday was the third time in four meetings that the final score was determined by a single point. The entire season series was decided by a total of six points.
In the absence of Dario Saric, who was held out of Wednesday’s contest for precautionary reasons stemming from left heel soreness, Justin Anderson helped fill the void. The second-year swing man was a potent presence throughout the evening, racking up a career-best 26 points.
Alex Poythress contributed to the Sixers’ cause as well. Like Anderson, the forward was a late-season addition, signed to a contract just 10 days ago. Making the first start of his professional career, he tallied 18 points and six rebounds.
Wrapping up his 12th year as an All-Star, Carmelo Anthony chose to play Wednesday, and did most of his scoring in the second period to finish with 17 points.
Justin Holiday emerged as a key contributor for New York. The back-up guard came alive down the stretch, generating 14 of his 20 points in the final frame.
With the setback, the Sixers ended the 2016-2017 campaign with an overall record of 28-52. Their 18-win improvement from the previous season represented the second-largest year-to-year bump in franchise history, and largest in NBA this year.
The Sixers were live indeed Wednesday, especially Justin Anderson, the feisty, hard-charging small forward. Of Anderson’s career-high tying nine field goals, six came on drives to the basket. Below, check out one of his highlight-worthy attacks on the rim.
We live. pic.twitter.com/qKE8CrHPNo
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 13, 2017
The 68th season in franchise history might now be in the books for the Sixers, but there are plenty of relevant dates on the horizon, two of which will pass before the week is out. Thursday, Brett Brown will meet individually with players for end-of-year exit interviews, then address the media one final time on Friday.
In May, the NBA’s annual draft combine will be held in Chicago from the 9th through 14th. The lottery then returns to New York City May 16th. Also in May, the Sixers, along with other teams throughout the league, will begin conducting prospect workouts in preparation for the draft, scheduled for June 22nd.
Philadelphia News & Search