Sixers

6 Sixers sit out regular-season finale

Sixers

The Sixers are near one finish line, though it doesn’t seem like an especially significant one in light of what’s ahead. 

After clinching the Eastern Conference’s top seed Friday night, they’ll play their regular-season finale Sunday vs. the Magic. 

Here are the essentials:

  • When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6 p.m. 
  • Where: Wells Fargo Center 
  • Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia  
  • Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams app 

And here are three storylines to watch: 

Sixers being cautious 

With the No. 1 seed secured, the worst-case scenario for the Sixers would be a star suffering or aggravating an injury.

They're ensuring that's not a possibility. Every starter will sit Sunday. Matisse Thybulle (left hand swelling) will also miss a fourth straight game.

Seven Magic players were listed out with injuries as of 5:30 p.m. ET. Wendell Carter Jr. (left eye abrasion) and Mo Bamba (non-COVID illness) were questionable. 

Outside of not ending the regular season on a down note, one positive of a Sixers win would be having home-court advantage in potential NBA Finals matchups against all Western Conference teams besides the Jazz and Suns. 

Time for the youngsters 

Rookies Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed should all see the floor against Orlando, and quite possibly for heavy minutes. 

Maxey, who has 17 assists and three turnovers over his last four games, is likely the only one who will play in a close playoff game this year, although Joe and Reed might have chances to crack the Sixers’ rotation in their second seasons. 

Reed, the G League MVP, has tended to provide energy and rebounding in his garbage-time appearances. Sixers head coach Doc Rivers has liked what he’s seen from Joe defensively. The Arkansas product scored 11 points in seven fourth-quarter minutes Friday. 

 

Looking to dial back in on defense 

The Sixers will enter Sunday’s game with a 106.9 defensive rating, which leads the NBA.

However, Rivers thought some of the team's standards had slipped before Friday’s win over Orlando. A solid defensive showing in the regular-season finale wouldn't hurt.

“Defensively, I thought today was the first time that I saw a replica of our defense in about three or four games,” he said. “I will say, we’ve played a lot of teams with guys out over these last two weeks, and I do think that that can create bad habits. ... I’m glad we have a week to try to correct some of them.”