With the NBA regular season coming to an end the Philadelphia 76ers (33-47) have nothing but pride to play for. They’re playing to finish strong in a season where it seems that nothing has gone right. From the mess that has been the Andrew Bynum trade, to Jason Richardson getting hurt, to Jrue Holiday going 2-24 shooting in a game, to Doug Collins murky future with the team , nothing has been easy this season and it certainly hasn’t played out like they thought it would back in the fall.
Friday night, in Washington against the Wizards (29-51), the 76ers, again, fell behind by 13 points in the second quarter and had to muster up some courage to get back in the game. After having lost three straight games, the 76ers pulled it together and came back to beat the Wizards by a final of 97-86.
Jrue Holiday was back in his earlier season form with 22 points and 7 assists while Thaddeus Young finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. These are the types of games that were supposed to be the norm as the season started but there’s not much you can do when your starting small forward, the former #2 overall pick in the draft, Evan Turner, shoots a big zero for eleven from the field, you might be in trouble. Luckily, Spencer Hawes (15 points and 8 rebounds), Damien Wilkins (15 points) and Dorell Wright (13 points) were there to pick up the slack.
Nick Young played 9 minutes and was booed when entering the game. Young is a former first-round draft pick of the Wizards in 2007 and was laughing when the crowd greeted him. Arnett Moultrie was able to finish with 7 points and 5 rebounds in just 17 minutes. The Wizards were led by John Wall who finished with 24 points and 7 assists, but didn’t get much else from anyone else.
Sunday, the Sixers were at home for the last time this season and maybe the last time with Doug Collins as head coach, when the Cleveland Cavaliers (24-56) came to town and we dominated from start to finish by a Sixers team that tried its hardest to give the fans what they’ve expected all season long, a solid performance.
The game was all 76ers from the start as they raced out to a 13 point lead after the first quarter and it was up to 19 points at the end of the first half. Wright led the team with 15 points while Jrue Holiday, Spencer Hawes, and Thaddeus young all finished with 14 points. Evan Turner, finishing 3-10 from the field for 7 points, finished up a weekend where he shot just 3 of 21 from the field and may have also been playing his final home game in a 76ers uniform.
The Cavaliers, with injuries to Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao , and Dion Waiters during the year are in the same situation as the 76ers having disappointed in a season where expectations were high coming in . Irving finished with 4 points and 3 assists in just 19 minutes as he’s coming back from injury, but Tristan Thompson and Kevin Jones were the top two players for the Cavs as Thompson finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds while Jones finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
In the end, all of the talk was whether or not Doug Collins would be the coach next season. Collins has refused to address the issue, held is head up a high, and concentrated only on finishing out the season on a positive note. It’s a credit to the man, but does nothing for the scribes in the city who keep pestering him with the same question before and after each game.
As it stands now, the word around Philadelphia is that Collins has informed the team that he won’t be back as head coach next season and while this season is not completely his fault, the failure of Collins to adjust to the team not having Bynum in the middle is the one large reason that the Sixers are sitting in 9th place in the Eastern Conference and waiting on the final amount of ping pong balls that they’ll be getting in the upcoming draft lottery.
The 76ers are in Detroit on Monday as they face the Pistons (28-52) at 7:30 pm.Tags: Arnett Moultrie, Cleveland Cavaliers, Evan Turner, John Wall, Jrue Holiday, Kyrie Irving, NBA, Nick Young, Philadelphia 76ers, Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young, Tristan Thompson, Washington Wizards