Regular Season Finale Isn't A Meaningless Game

There has been quite an outcry by both the players and the fans over the Sixers 91-90 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The biggest complaints by the fans (and Samuel Dalembert himself) was that the Sixers center was fouled by Zydrunas Ilgauskas before Dalembert was called for the final foul on Devin Brown. Many fans complained that LeBron James traveled on the play before his shot was blocked by Dalembert.

All are valid claims. Yet none of them will change the outcome of the game.  And to answer a question, the officials couldn’t change the call after looking at the replay. The only thing the replay was there for was to determine if the foul that official Greg Willard called on Dalembert occurred before time expired.

No doubt it was a bitter way to lose, but how the Sixers react to the loss will determine how competitive they will be against the Detroit Pistons in the postseason. After the game we suggested that the loss could bond the team. The only way anything good comes out of the loss is if the Sixers go into Charlotte and win Wednesday’s regular season finale against the Bobcats.

First of all, the Sixers don’t want to enter the postseason with a losing record. A win over Charlotte would give the Sixers a 41-41 mark. More importantly, the Sixers want to show that they are mentally tough enough to come back from such a devastating loss.

And that is why, the Sixers should pull out all the stops to win on Wednesday. If it means playing Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller 45 minutes, so be it. We know that many fans want the Sixers to rest their starters for this final game. Detroit has been resting its starters for the last few weeks.

The Sixers don’t want to enter the postseason on a four-game losing streak. A win on the road, even though it would be against the Bobcats, would give the Sixers something to build on.  Plus the Sixers will have a few days off before the playoffs begin and with such a young team, fatigue shouldn’t be a factor.

Detroit is a much older team, and a deeper one, and the Pistons can still beat many teams while resting their starters. The Sixers can’t do that. They should come out flying against the Bobcats.

Coach Maurice Cheeks gave the Sixers off from practice on Tuesday, so they should have plenty of energy. And they should treat the Bobcats game like it’s a pre-playoff matchup. The standings suggest it is a meaningless regular season finale. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Sixers should treat this game with the utmost urgency, the best type of dress rehearsal before the postseason actually begins.