The Philadelphia 76ers faced off against the Detroit Pistons in the regular-season finale Sunday evening in Philadelphia. With the playoffs in sight and the Sixers being virtually locked in the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, Joel Embiid and James Harden got the night off. The Sixers’ superstars got some much-needed rest as they prepare for the Toronto Raptors next weekend.
The Sixers started fast and built a lead of 15 points in the second quarter, but in typical Sixers fashion, they allowed the Pistons to fight back and stay in the game. With the pesky Pistons staying in the game until the early fourth quarter, it took a big fourth quarter from Paul Reed to close this game out. The Sixers win 118-106 to finish out the season 51-31 and earn the 4th seed in a competitive Eastern Conference.
Milton & Maxey
Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton helped pace the 76ers in their victory against the Detroit Pistons. Shake Milton started the game off hot, scoring 11 first-quarter points and his first 5 points in 5 seconds of action. Milton ended the night with 30 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Shake Milton has cemented himself as the guard off the bench in the playoffs. He will most likely spell Harden and Maxey in the playoffs. Having a confident Milton going into the postseason is something that the Sixers need to have. During Game 2 of last years’ playoff matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, Milton single-handedly swung the game in the Sixers’ favor with his performance to end the third quarter and early fourth.
Tyrese Maxey was solid in limited action tonight and helped the Sixers start to build a lead in the third quarter. Maxey ended the night with 25 points but what stood out was his burst to the basket. He is such a change of pace from the slow, methodical play that this team gets from its other stars.
Maxey led the team in total minutes played this season, so it is good to see the team prioritizing getting him some rest during this game and before the playoffs.
76ers’ Backup Center Solidified
With Sixers’ Twitter begging Doc Rivers to play Paul Reed as a backup center for two months, we finally started to see what type of play he could bring to the table. The 76ers signed DeAndre Jordan with the hopes that he could fill the backup center need with Andre Drummond being traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Jordan’s stint with the Sixers hasn’t gone well thus far, and he may have only had a few good minutes since being signed.
BBall Paul played well against the Pistons, playing with energy and hustle. It is the type of play that the Sixers need in order to match the intensity of teams when Joel Embiid is on the bench. Reed scored 25 points and added 6 rebounds while spelling Jordan, who got the start tonight in the absence of Embiid. Reed still has a problem with fouling too much but will only learn more nuances of the defensive end as he plays more.
During this post-game press conference, Doc Rivers commented that if teams go big, he will play Jordan, but if a team goes small, Reed will get the minutes. With his play in the recent games, Reed has added so much effort and energy for this team, and they will need that matching up with the Raptors in the first round. In the eyes of the fans, Reed has solidified his place as Embiid’s backup in the playoffs.
Doc Rivers Passes Coaching Legend
76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers passed Rick Adelman to become 9th all-time in coaching wins in NBA History. The victory tonight gave Rivers 1043 wins — now just 55 wins behind Larry Brown for 8th all-time. Recently, Rivers was named one of the 15 best coaches of all time, and with this accomplishment, he continues to cement his Hall of Fame legacy.