Knicks clinch 2 seed; Sixers host Warmth in play-in


  • Tim Bontemps, ESPNApr 14, 2024, 04:40 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA — Lengthy after the Philadelphia 76ers emerged with a cushty 107-86 victory over the Brooklyn Nets of their season finale right here at Wells Fargo Middle, many of the 76ers roster was standing within the locker room watching the ultimate moments of the New York KnicksChicago Bulls sport 100 miles up Interstate 95.

If New York received the sport, it could clinch the second seed — and can be Philadelphia’s potential first spherical opponent subsequent weekend. If Chicago received, the Knicks can be third and the Milwaukee Bucks would clinch the second seed as an alternative.

Finally, it was the Knicks who escaped with an exciting 120-119 extra time victory after DeMar DeRozan‘s potential game-winning jumper went wanting. The 76ers — relegated to the play-in match near an hour earlier by the Orlando Magic’s 113-88 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks — will now shift their focus to Wednesday’s 7-8 play-in sport right here towards the Miami Warmth.

“Clearly we have had some nice battles with them, and we all the time count on that going through them,” 76ers coach Nick Nurse stated after the win of the prospect of going through Miami. “The mindset is we’re enjoying properly and do the whole lot we will, like we have been doing the final month of the yr … digging in and enjoying our guys and doing no matter we’ve got to, no matter we acquired to do to win.

“We have a superb mindset, and we’ll take that into Wednesday.”

Whereas Philadelphia finally completed in a three-way tie with each the Magic and Indiana Pacers, who walloped the Atlanta Hawks Sunday, Orlando earned the fifth seed by advantage of wining the Southeast Division — the tiebreaker between the three groups.

Indiana then received the head-to-head tiebreak with Philadelphia because of profitable the season collection 2-1, and thus acquired the sixth seed and, with it, a matchup with the Bucks within the first spherical.

That relegated Philadelphia to seventh, the place the 76ers completed regardless of ripping off eight straight wins to finish the yr. Now, they’ll entertain the Warmth in Philadelphia after Miami received a second straight sport towards the Toronto Raptors Sunday to shut the season in eighth.

It was a wild day of outcomes across the Jap Convention, nonetheless, led by the Cleveland Cavaliers seemingly going out of their approach to make sure they had been the fourth seed by enjoying their end-of-bench gamers down the stretch to lose to the hapless Charlotte Hornets, who had mainly their complete rotation dominated out earlier than the sport. The Hornets outscored Cleveland 32-14 within the fourth quarter.

“Yeah, I imply we had been attempting,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff instructed reporters after the sport. “Once more, in dwell time it is onerous to get all that info. We had been conscious, as a few of that stuff was occurring.

“However as soon as we sat our guys on the finish of the third quarter they usually had the mindset of not going again in, I did not wish to take any dangers of placing them again into the sport. When everybody had already cooled down after which one thing else occurs.

“So, you might be all the time conscious of it, you might be all the time taking a peek at it however I believed the protection of our guys was crucial factor. After they had been shut off, I did not wish to have and ramp them again as much as put them late within the 4th quarter when one thing worse may occur to them. That is what we caught with.”

That loss by Cleveland ensured the Cavaliers would end fourth. If that they had received Cleveland would have secured the No. 3 seed attributable to proudly owning the tiebreaker over the Bucks.

Each the Cavs and Bucks dropping meant the Knicks would wind up because the second seed with a win. They performed an extra time thriller vs. the Bulls that went proper all the way down to the buzzer at MSG, with Chicago — regardless of having nothing to play for — giving the Knicks the whole lot that they had earlier than New York lastly was in a position to come out on prime.

4 gamers on each groups performed at the very least 40 minutes, whereas Donte DiVincenzo by no means got here out in any respect for New York.

Now, although, he and the Knicks will get a full week off to relaxation and can watch Wednesday’s sport right here to see who they’re going to face within the first spherical of the playoffs, with the loser then internet hosting the winner of the Bulls and Hawks Friday for the suitable to face the top-seeded Boston Celtics within the first spherical.

The one lingering query going into that 7-8 play-in sport Wednesday is the well being of the 76ers — and, particularly, reigning MVP Joel Embiid, who sat out Sunday’s sport towards Brooklyn in what sources instructed ESPN earlier than the sport was a precautionary measure.

Nurse, although, stated Embiid can be able to play Wednesday.

“He did the whole lot at apply yesterday,” Nurse stated after the sport, “however we determined out of warning to carry him out.

“He’ll be able to go.”

Robert Covington, nonetheless, won’t be, as Nurse stated it is unlikely the veteran ahead will return this season attributable to a bone bruise in his left knee. He additionally stated De’Anthony Melton, who has handled again points for many of 2024, is trending in the direction of not being accessible, both.


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