Neither the Philadelphia 76ers nor the Charlotte Bobcats played particularly well in their last game. The difference is Philadelphia has clinched a playoff spot while Charlotte may have fallen too far back to still make a run at one.
The 76ers look to bounce back from a dismal offensive performance on Tuesday when they visit the slumping Bobcats, whose latest loss has pushed them closer to elimination from postseason contention.
Philadelphia (40-36) clinched its second straight playoff berth following a 95-90 win over Detroit on Saturday, but still has plenty to play for.
The 76ers are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference - a half-game behind fifth-place Miami and 2 1/2 back of fourth-place Atlanta with six games remaining. If they can catch the Hawks, the Sixers would get home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs because they won the season series.
They didn’t look like a team still fighting to improve their postseason seed on Sunday in a 96-67 loss to New Jersey. Philadelphia shot 35.1 percent while scoring its fewest points and suffering its largest margin of defeat of the season.
Louis Williams was the only Philadelphia player to score in double figures with 14.
It was a particularly frustrating game for Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller, who have combined this season to average 34.6 points. After playing the entire second half Saturday, they were held to 12 points on 4-of-17 shooting Sunday.
Despite the awful performance, coach Tony DiLeo didn’t believe it was a case of players letting up once they were guaranteed a spot in the postseason.
“I don’t think it had anything to do with clinching the playoff berth,” DiLeo said. “Yesterday was an important game. We played both Andres more minutes than they usually play, the whole second half. Maybe that caught up to them a little bit. I don’t think just because we clinched we let down. We just had nothing going tonight.”
The 76ers were averaging 98.0 points in the previous five games.
While Philadelphia’s loss somewhat dampened the excitement of the team’s playoff berth, the Bobcats’ latest defeat severely hurt their chances of reaching the postseason for the first time in franchise history.
Charlotte (34-43) had a chance to move within one game of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East on Sunday but lost 104-97 to Detroit. The Bobcats are in ninth place in the East and have five games left but are three behind the Pistons and Chicago, which are tied for the conference’s final two postseason berths.
D.J. Augustin scored 22 points while Emeka Okafor added 14 and grabbed 16 rebounds, but the Bobcats lost their third straight. Charlotte scored only 17 points in the first quarter but still led early in the fourth before Detroit pulled away.
“We just have to execute better,” Charlotte coach Larry Brown said. “We had some really bad turnovers late, and when you have some empty possessions late in the game, you don’t have time to overcome that.
“We just need to keep getting better.”
Charlotte is giving up an average of 104.0 points in its last three games after allowing 91.3 in the previous eight games, going 6-2.
The Bobcats have won two of three against Philadelphia this season and six of the last seven meetings in Charlotte.