If the Philadelphia 76ers beat a not very impressive Pistons team Thursday night in the last game of the regular season, and if the Knicks lose to the Bobcats…. Okay, that’s not happening.
But in theory it could, and if both those things happen the 76ers would move into the seven seed in the East and draw the Miami Heat not the Chicago Bulls.
The 76ers want the Bulls and second-year guard Evan Turner admitted as much to the Delaware County Times (of Pennsylvania) last weekend, via the Daily Herald.
“I think we’ll be able to compete well against Chicago and have an opportunity to win the series,” he said. “It means we’re dodging the tougher team. That’s what I think.”
Which really means expect the Sixers to take no chances and tank hard against the Pistons Thursday.
The Sixers are 1-11 against the Heat since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, and they have looked overmatched and overwhelmed in many of those losses. The Bulls took two of three from the Sixers this season but Philly actually had the better point differential, and over the last two seasons the teams have split their games. The teams have played each other pretty evenly.
But that belies the reality on the court — the Bulls not only have more talent but also execute within their system better at both ends of the court than the Sixers. It’s a five game series, one where for the Bulls it will be about finding their rhythm again before taking on Boston or Atlanta in the second round.
But in the world of crazy longshots, maybe the 76ers are better off with the Bulls.
Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.
But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.
He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.
LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.
Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?
In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.
But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.
Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.
“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”
It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)
With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.
“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”
There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.
It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.
The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.
The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.
Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.
A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.