By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With their playoff birth clinched, the Sixers will opt for rest over wins. The Sixers announced that Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, and Elton Brand have not made the trip to play in tonight’s game against the Bucks, and will not participate in the season finale against the Pistons. That plan works on a couple of different levels.
Here’s the first, all three could use the rest before the playoffs begin; Iguodala led the team in minutes per game and has had some knee problems, Young is noticeably thinner than he was last season and has looked worn of late, and Brand’s combination of age, effort, and guarding players much larger than he is has taken its toll. Those three players being fresh will give the Sixers a better chance to compete in their first round series.
In addition, losing the final two games to assure themselves the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference would match them up with the Bulls in the first round. Winning either of the final two games means a chance that they could overtake the Knicks for the seventh seed, and would assure a first round date with the Miami Heat for the second consecutive year. The Sixers match up better against the Bulls, and have beaten them four times over the past two seasons. The Sixers have just one win against the Heat over the same time span, that coming in the fourth game of their first round series last year, on a last second three point shot by Lou Williams.
It’s likely that guards Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams will play fewer minutes as well.
The Sixes signed guard Xavier Silas from their D-League affiliate to play in the final two games. Silas was in Sixers training camp as an undrafted free-agent and dressed for their two pre-season games against the Wizards. Silas’ story is a good one, and worth reading about (see related story).
This game had the potential to be a big one, if the Sixers had lost Monday’s game against the Nets and the Bucks had won their game against the Raptors on the same night. But the Sixers won, the Bucks lost, and this one has gone from big one, to no one.
KYW’s Matt Leon talked to the Daily News’ Bob Cooney about tonight’s game:
The game can be heard live on 94WIP at 8:00pm.
Follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw