The Philadelphia 76ers are desperate to lose games in order to gain a higher draft pick, while the Portland Trail Blazers are quasi-contenders in the Western Conference and are fantastic at home. This game is only going to end one way, right?
Wrong. Sixers win 101-99.
On the night when the Philadelphia Eagles lost in the NFL Playoffs at home to the New Orleans Saints, the other team in Philadelphia — the one that actually wants to lose — managed to scrap out one of their best wins of the season.
The 76ers are now riding a four-game winning streak — on the road — after wins against the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Denver Nuggets and now the Portland Trail Blazers. It is the first time the Sixers have won four road games in a row since April 2012.
Portland — renowned for hitting the 3 — could only muster up three triples. Before Saturday’s game, the Trail Blazers had the highest 3-point percentage (40.5) and made 3-pointers per game (10.6) in the entire NBA.
Thaddeus Young continues to raise his trade value after another commanding performance. The former Georgia Tech forward led the scoring for Philly with 30. Since reportedly handing in a trade request, Young has averaged more than 25 points a game. While wins are bad long-term for the Sixers, having Thaddeus Young play so well raises his trade value and makes him a really movable commodity. The change-of-pace forward would make any team better. He is perhaps one of the most underrated players in the NBA and is benefiting from not being coached by the offensive dinosaur that is Doug Collins.
The Blazers did have a chance to tie the game, when Damian Lillard missed a layup with 0.9 seconds left to go. Evan Turner snatched the rebound and that was that: The Sixers had defeated the Blazers in one of the most surprising results of the season.