Sixers end regular season on the right note, beating Nets 107-86

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Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey, left, drives to the basket against Brooklyn Nets’ Noah Clowney, center, and Jalen Wilson, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 14, 2024, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 107-86. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Philadelphia 76ers took to their home court to face the Brooklyn Nets in the final game of the regular season. With their seeding position in the Eastern Conference anything but certain, the Sixers went into the matchup focusing on what was in their control: the game at hand.

Before, during, and after the game however, the Sixers honored Hall of Fame guard and one of the most influential players to ever play the game, Allen Iverson.

Honoring a legend

Sixers Iverson
Former Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball player Allen Iverson poses for photos next to his statue at the teams training center in Camden, N.J., Friday, April 12, 2024 (Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

After unveiling the sculpture of Iverson that now resides outside the team’s practice facility in Camden New Jersey, the Sixers continued the celebration honoring Iverson and his one-of-a-kind career in Philadelphia. With new items announced in the team store, Iverson-related prizes throughout the game, and highlight reels and videos dedicated to Iverson and what he meant to the Sixers, the NBA, and the city and its fans, Iverson was once again bigger than the game of basketball in Philadelphia.

No Embiid, no problem (for now)

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid grabs his left knee after the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Friday, April 12, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Ahead of the Sunday matinee, it was announced that Joel Embiid would not take the floor in this matchup. After Saturday’s practice, Sixers head coach Nick Nurse spoke with the media and addressed the matter of Embiid’s knee after he reaggrivated it in Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic. Despite Nurse’s update that there Embiid was a full-participant in practice, he would not take the floor in a move that was more cautious than necessary. Come the final whistle, it would appear the Sixers did not need their superstar center, at least not in this game.

Philadelphia would begin to pull away beginning in the second quarter, finishing the half up 11. From there, the Sixers only looked more and more dominant.

Tyrese Maxey led the game in scoring, finishing with 26 points. Tobias Harris meanwhile contributed 21 points and eight rebounds of his own in the victorious effort. The biggest game though came from trade deadline acquisition Buddy Hield who finished the night with 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. He was a +20 on the night and displayed a strong sense of purpose with every move.

After the team’s practice just one day earlier, Hield addressed the media and spoke on being able to seize the opportunity with his new team:

When opportunity comes to you, fire away. The coaches see me working on that now. Working on quick opportunities because the opportunities, let’s say limited, because you have Joel and Tyrese with Tobias, Kelly. You gotta make the right play and still trust it. When the opportunity comes, you gotta be able to fire it and lock it down.

The opportunity rang, and Buddy Hield certainly answered, helping to lead the Sixers to a 107-86 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Up next for the Sixers, the Play-In Tournament

Philadelphia 76ers head coach, Nick Nurse, applauds his team during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Sunday, April 7, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Rodolfo Gonzalez)

With the regular season now in the rearview, the focus will now be on the task at hand, the NBA playoffs. After wins by the Indiana Pacers and the Orlando Magic, the Sixers in the Play-In Tournament. This means that they will face the Miami Heat in a single-game playoff to decide who will take the seventh-seed in the Eastern Conference.

Should the Sixers win on Wednesday, they will face the New York Knicks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.