The day has finally come; tonight, the Sixers will play their final game of a very disappointing season in Indiana.
The Sixers were last in action on Monday, when they endured a late beat-down, being outscored 33-21 in the third quarter en route to a 109-101 loss.
The Pacers’ last game was a 10 point loss to the Knicks, last Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Indiana was in Boston earlier in the week expecting to play the Celtics on Tuesday night, however that contest was canceled due to Monday’s tragic events at the Boston Marathon.
The NBA elected not to reschedule the contest since the Pacers and the Celtics are already locked into the 3-seed and 7-seed in the east, respectively.
With that being said, from a basketball perspective, it will be interesting to see the philosophy of the two coaches tonight.
With rumors circling that Doug Collins is expected to step down at season’s end, likely to be officially announced during a Rod Thorn press conference on Thursday, it is quite possible that he’ll try to will the troops to a final victory under his reign.
On Monday night, Collins elected to let the young guys such as Arnett Moultrie get extended fourth quarter minutes rather than bringing the starters back in to try for a comeback. The scoreboard will dictate whether he decides to go that route once again tonight.
The Pacers, on the other hand, will have to choose between resting their guys for a first round series against either Atlanta or Chicago, or playing their guys normally to attempt to secure a 50-win season and some momentum going into the playoffs.
They have lost four out of their last five, so momentum may be an issue, however it wouldn’t be surprising if the starters get pulled for the majority of the second half regardless of the score.
The last contest between these two squads was March 16th in Philadelphia, a game which the Sixers won with a tremendous fourth quarter effort. Spencer Hawes tallied 18 points, a career-high 16 rebounds, eight assists, and a career-high 7 blocks.
Not only was this by and far the best game of Spence’s career, but it was also the first time since Hakeem Olajuwon’s quadruple double in 1990 that a player had racked up those stats in a single contest.
The Sixers do not have much to play for here, especially considering that they are immersed in a three-way tie with the Blazers and Raptors for the 10th worst record in the NBA.
The lottery implications aren’t huge, and probably aren’t worth tanking for, especially considering that coin tosses will be the final determinant of draft order for the squads that endure equal results tonight.
Toronto will get the Celtics, and the Blazers will get the Warriors, both at home, both opponents being playoff-bound teams that may or may not rest their starters, much like Indiana.
This game should be an emotional one for Doug Collins, who will most likely be coaching his last game for Philadelphia. Reports state that he will be reassigned as a special consultant for next season.
Expect a lot of emotional, reflective responses from players and coaches in tonight’s post-game coverage. Noteworthy quotes will be included in the recap, right at here at The Sixer Sense.
The not-so-grand finale of the Sixers’ tumultuous 2012-2013 campaign tips off at 8 PM tonight in Indiana.