Here's just a quick update on where things stand, and the possibilities that could play out over the final weekend.
- Milwaukee: 51-30 (Remaining: @CLE).
- Boston: 50-31 (Remaining: @MEM).
- Philadelphia: 50-31 (Remaining: vs DET).
In the event of a tie with Boston
Status: Boston owns the tiebreaker over the 76ers.
Why? The Sixers and Celtics split the season series 2-2. The next relevant tiebreaker for teams in the same division is the won-lost percentage for games against Atlantic Division opponents, and Boston has the edge in that with a 9-7 record, compared to just 6-10 for the Sixers.
In the event of a tie with Milwaukee
Status: Milwaukee owns the tiebreaker over the 76ers
Why? This one's simple: because they went 2-1 in the season series.
In the event of a three-team tie
Status: the Sixers would end up with the 4th seed.
Why? The first tiebreaker goes to a division winner, which separates Milwaukee from the pack. From there, the next tiebreaker is the better winning percentage in all games among the tied teams. Milwaukee was 4-3 overall (2-2 against Boston, 2-1 against the Sixers, Boston was 4-4 overall (2-2 against both the Sixers and the Bucks), and the Sixers were 3-4 overall (2-2 against Boston. 1-2 against Milwaukee).
Should the Sixers want the Raptors in round 1?
That's perhaps the wrong way to phrase that, as I think almost everyone agrees that the Raptors would be a tougher first-round opponent than the Bulls would be. But most would also agree that the Sixers would have a better chance against Miami in the second round than they would against the Bucks.
It's not quite that cut-and-dry – if the Sixers have to expend far more energy to beat the Raptors than they would the Bulls, that could make the second-round matchup tougher, regardless of opponent – but if the goal is to make a deep playoff run, the #4 seed might be the better spot.
The chase for the scoring title
With only 56 games played, LeBron James (30.3 ppg), who was recently ruled out for the rest of the season, will not qualify for the scoring title. That leaves Joel Embiid (30.6 ppg) with a pretty sizable lead over Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.9) with one game left to play.
Even if Embiid plays tonight and is held scoreless he'd still finish with a scoring average of 30.13 points per game, the first time a center has finished with a scoring average over 30 since Moses Malone did so for the Houston Rockets back in 1981-82. For reference, Shaq's best season was 29.7 points per game for the Lakers back in 1999-2000, Hakeem topped out at 27.8 for the Rockets in 1994-95, and David Robinson reached a high-water mark of 29.8 for the Spurs in 1993-94.
Going back to the hypothetical of Embiid playing and going scoreless, even in that doomsday scenario Giannis would still have to score 47 to rip the scoring title away from Embiid. If Embiid doesn't play (he's listed as questionable on the injury report with right knee soreness), Giannis would need 77 points tonight to equal Embiid's average, 78 to beat it.
The Bucks take on the Cavs at 3:30 pm Eastern, and the Sixers play the Pistons at 7 pm.