Congratulations Philadelphia 76ers, you made the playoffs.
As your reward, I’d like you to meet Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls.
At least they are going to the dance. The 76ers went in and beat the New Jersey Nets 105-87, spoiling the party for the Nets last ever game in New Jersey. The win secures Philadelphia the eight seed and means the Bucks will go fishing early this year. (Philly plays Milwaukee on Wednesday but that game is meaningless now.)
Much like this whole season has gone the Sixers, they made this clinching game harder than it had to be by falling apart late — they led by 15 at the half and just one with less than four minutes to go but hung on to get the win. Thaddeus Young saved the Sixers bacon with five late field goals.
While mathematically the Sixers could catch the Knicks for the seven seed, the likely outcome here is they are eighth and get the Bulls in the first round. Chicago has not been firing on all cylinders lately and is trying to re-integrate Rose back into the offense. Which means maybe Philly can win one.
Still, they got into the dance.
Dwyane Wade ‘honored’ to be Prince’s favorite player
The officiating crew missed a host of calls during those final 13 seconds, but they have at least owned up to the most egregious one — missing Dion Waiters pushing off Manu Ginobili while the Thunder guard tried to inbound the ball. (Yes, Ginobili’s foot was on the line, but sorry Thunder homers that was not close to the most egregious miss at the end.)
After the game, the lead official Kenny Mauer admitted that error.
Did that decide the game? No. We like to focus on things we can blame as going wrong, but the Spurs offense started 2-of-15 shooting on the night, was inconsistent, and they still had a chance at the end. This one play is not why the Spurs lost. Manu Ginobili said it well postgame.
Raptors’ Bismack Biyombo given after-the-fact Flagrant 2 for elbow to Pacers’ Turner, no suspension
However, no mention of a suspension for this incident alone. The Raptors catch a break there, as Biyombo should have been tossed from the game and/or given a suspension for that elbow. That said, one more flagrant and he does get a suspension.
NBA’s Basketball Without Borders to host first event in Australia
Australia has brought a fair amount of talent — and scrappy players — to the NBA, and now the NBA is taking one of its outreach programs there.
Yesterday the NBA, FIBA, and Australia’s National Basketball League announced a Basketball without Borders event June 23-26 at Dandenong Basketball Stadium in Melbourne. It’s the first time the community outreach program will come to the island nation of Australia.
“We are pleased to partner with FIBA and the NBL to bring the first Basketball without Borders camp to Australia,” NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy said in a statement. “The league has seen a surge of Australian talent in recent years, and we look forward to supporting the next generation by giving them a platform to showcase their skills alongside their peers from throughout the region.”
These events bring in youth basketball players and work with them, both giving young players highest quality instruction and raising the profile of the sport in the nation with a little star power. Basketball Without Borders will celebrate 15 years this summer and has been all over the globe with similar events.