A fear of tying the 1972-73 Sixers for worst record in NBA history looming over Sixers fans, the Sixers erased those fears once and for all ending a 12-game losing streak tonight by defeating a depleted New Orleans Pelicans side 107-93 Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers won the game by 14 points, but it did not appear like that would be the case in the first quarter as the Sixers got off to a rough start thanks in part to Pelicans forward Luke Babbitt. Babbitt finished the game with 16 points, but he scored 14 of those 16 points in the first 14 minutes of the game frustrating many Sixers fans who could not believe their team had been reduced to getting dominated by Luke Babbitt. Fortunately, Babbitt's reign of terror ended quicker than it began and starting in the second quarter the Sixers mowed through the Pelicans. The Pelicans, a team ravaged by injury to an astonishing degree this season, could not keep up with the Sixers' depth, a sentence that seems incredible but consider the fact that in this game the Pelicans started Alexis Ajinca, the aforementioned Babbitt, and Former Sixer Tim Frazier and the way this game played out becomes a bit more understandable.
The Sixers' bench took control of this game in the 2nd quarter and once they did they the team never looked back. The Sixers trailed by dougle digits in the first quarter but their +14 point differential in the second quarter swung the game in their favor so much so that the Sixers led by as many as 20 at one point in the fourth quarter. Carl Landry came off the bench and provided an incredible spark, shooting 9-10 from the field including 2-2 from beyond the arc and 2-3 from the charity stripe with his only misses coming in the 4th quarter with the outcome already very much decided.
Nerlens Noel returned to the line-up after missing six games and played like a guy returning to the line-up after missing six games. Noel finished only 2-5 for 4 total points and collected 6 rebounds in 17 minutes of play.
Isaiah Canaan played a strong game before being taken out after 22 minutes with a shoulder strain. Canaan shot 6-12 from the field, including 4-7 from downtown in addition to tacking on a pair of rebounds and assists as well. It does not appear as if Canaan's injury is serious and at this point it does not appear as if he will miss any time.
Robert Covington, on the other hand, did not have a particularly strong outing tonight. RoCo shot a paltry 3-16 from the field and a horrifying 1-10 from beyond the arc. His only saving graces tonight are the fact that he shot 5-5 from the free throw line and picked up 9 rebounds in the game along with 3 assists and 4 steals. But yeah, this was not a strong shooting performance on any level from last season's breakout player. Better luck shooting next time, Rob.
What this game means for the future of the Sixers is uncertain. It may be that Hinkie's fate rests on the ability for the Sixers to win one or more their games to close out the seasons, it may be that Hinkie's fate is already decided by Sixers ownership, it may be that whatever decision Sixers brass ultimately comes to April's games will play no part in that choice. However with the Sixers having already clinched the best possible odds in the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery winning games can only provide good feelings for the team, unless of course you are one of those people extra-closely watching the Sacramento Kings pick swap in which case you may have been hoping for the Sixers to win all their games except this very game, the game that they ultimately won.
The Sixers get to stay home for the next few days as their next game is not until Friday when they host Kristaps Porzingis and the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center, a game whose attendance may or may not be impacted by Villanova's championship parade earlier in the day.