The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the New Jersey Nets 105-87 to clinch a playoff spot in the final game for the Nets in New Jersey. Like most Sixers games, there was a balanced scoring act, few free throws, and a lack of turnovers. And like nearly every game against a bad team, the Sixers won by double digits.
There really isn’t much to see here, other than injuries. It wasn’t an enthralling game like the Indiana one. Jrue Holiday suffered some sort of laceration and nosebleed resulting from an inadvertent elbow from Sundiata Gaines in the second quarter of the game. And Andre Iguodala suffered a groin injury, of the especially painful variety, and was limping afterward while the Sixers had a 13 point lead with two minutes to play. Why he remained out there, I don’t know exactly. If the Nets made a comeback then put him back in; otherwise I would have yanked him immediately.
Actually, one more thing: Elton Brand had a superb game defending the rim. You would think someone at his age and size wouldn’t be an elite interior defender, but Brand has morphed into one this year. While he was given the luxury of defending the Johan Petro-es and Jordan Williams-es of the world, he took advantage by dissuading anyone from going near him, for fear of getting his shot blocked. Nikola Vucevic was the unfortunate loser in this equation, as he was forced to defend a smaller but faster Kris Humphries to start. Doug pulled him just over 2 minutes into the game, and he never returned. Lavoy Allen even started the second half – he played decently, but not much better than Nik would have.
The Sixers clinched a playoff spot with the victory, having a 3 game lead over Milwaukee with 2 games remaining. The next two games will serve as rest time for Iguodala, Brand, and Lou Williams, who Doug said will all rest on Wednesday and Thursday. Based on the condition of his face, I’d rest Holiday too, but it looks as if he’ll play just because we have so few perimeter options on the roster.