The Philadelphia 76ers can’t change their playoff seeding with a victory in their season finale, but they can secure their first winning campaign since 2004-05.
The 76ers might not have a couple of key players as they try to accomplish that feat against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
With Andre Iguodala’s(notes) status unknown and Lou Williams expected to sit out, the 76ers are hoping for a better scoring effort as they try to record their 42nd victory and add one final loss to the visiting Pistons’ tumultuous season.
Philadelphia (41-40) is heading to the postseason for the third time in four years, and the Eastern Conference’s seventh-place team will take on Miami in the first round.
The 76ers, though, haven’t played like a playoff team as they’ve scored 88.8 points per game - 10.2 fewer than their season average - while dropping four of five.
Iguodala, second on the team with 14.1 points per game, didn’t play in Monday’s 95-85 defeat to Orlando as he rested his ailing right knee. The swingman has played through tendinitis and coach Doug Collins wanted to give him some time off before the postseason.
Collins isn’t sure if he’ll play Iguodala against the Pistons (29-52), and Williams is expected to miss his fifth straight game because of a strained right hamstring.
Philadelphia will finish with at least 40 wins for the third time in four seasons but has topped 41 only once in the previous seven.
“We would like to win 42 but not with the idea of then playing somebody who would be hurt for the playoffs. That would make no sense at all,” Collins said.
Detroit has dealt with more than physical pain while topping 50 losses for the second straight season, the first time that’s happened since 1994-95 and 1995-96.
This campaign has been marred by clashes between players and coach John Kuester, and one of the Pistons’ lowlights came in their previous trip to Philadelphia.
Reportedly in protest of Kuester’s leadership, several players skipped at least part of the team’s shootaround before a 110-94 loss Feb. 25. The Pistons coach and his staff used only six players in that game, and one of those benched, Tracy McGrady(notes), was seen laughing with teammates when Kuester was ejected in the second quarter for arguing with referees.
McGrady, Richard Hamilton(notes), Charlie Villanueva(notes) and Rodney Stuckey(notes) are among those Kuester has benched at other points during this season. With new owner Tom Gores expected to take over soon, the coach and some of his players’ futures remain uncertain.
“I got spoiled over the first five or six years, what we were able to accomplish,” said forward Tayshaun Prince(notes), who won a title with Detroit in 2004. “It’s been unfortunate the last couple of years, but this organization has meant a lot to me.”
The Pistons missed a chance to enter this game with a season-high four straight wins as they fell 110-101 at home to the East’s worst team, Cleveland, on Monday.
Detroit will try to finish with its fifth win in seven games against Philadelphia.