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.
Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.
But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.
There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.
Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….
Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.
This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.
If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.
The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.
Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.
Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.