With their loss Tuesday night, the Sixers’ hold on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference is down to a game-and-a-half. They also sit only a game behind the Knicks for the seventh spot.
However, with the way they are playing, the ability to hand on to the final spot seems a bigger priority than the chance to move up.
The Sixers play their third game in three nights Wednesday in Cleveland and hope to avoid losing all three. They have lost seven of their last nine and are a dreadful 3-19 in games decided by seven points of fewer.
The Sixers play their final five games on the road and visit Milwaukee next Wednesday in a game that could decide their playoff fate.
Of their final five, the Sixers play only one team that is currently in the playoffs – at Indiana on Saturday. That is the same Pacers team that beat the Sixers, 102-97, on Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.
Milwaukee has six games remaining, including Wednesday night in Washington. Of their final six, three are against current playoff teams, including at Indiana and at Boston.
The Knicks have five to play with only one home game remaining and close out the season at the woeful Charlotte Bobcats. The Knicks also have a scheduling quirk, in hosting the Los Angeles Clippers next Wednesday. Most late-season games around the league are against teams within the conference. Counting the Clippers, the Knicks have two playoff teams on their schedule.
Games remaining: 5 (0 home, 5 away)
Tonight: at Cleveland (20-40)
Saturday: at Indiana (40-22)
Monday: at New Jersey (22-40)
Wednesday: at Milwaukee (29-31)
Thursday: at Detroit (23-38)
Games remaining: 6 (3 home, 3 away)
Tonight: at Washington (15-46)
Thursday: at Indiana (40-22)
Sasturday: vs. New Jersey (22-40)
Monday: vs. Toronto (22-40)
Wednesday: vs. Sixers (31-30)
Thursday: at Boston (36-26)
Games remaining: 5 (1 home, 4 away)
Tonight: at New Jersey (22-40)
Friday: at Cleveland (20-40)
Sunday: at Atlanta (36-25)
Wednesday: vs. Clippers (38-23)
Thursday: at Charlotte (7-53)