Sublime Sixers extend record streak to 15

AFP
The Philadelphia 76ers powered to a record-breaking 15th straight victory on Tuesday with a 121-113 defeat of the Atlanta Hawks to stay on course for third seed.
AFP

THE Philadelphia 76ers powered to a record-breaking 15th straight victory on Tuesday with a 121-113 defeat of the Atlanta Hawks to stay on course for third seed in the NBA Eastern Conference standings.

JJ Redick led the scoring with 28 points while Ersan Ilyasova weighed in with 26 off the bench as the Sixers moved to within one win of locking up third spot.

Ben Simmons, who had been struggling with a stomach bug, added 14 points with 10 assists while Marco Belinelli had 20 off the bench as the Sixers set a new franchise record for consecutive wins.

The Sixers can seal third in the Eastern Conference in the final round of regular season games today when they return to Philadelphia to host Milwaukee.

Sixers coach Brett Brown said he believes his team’s record winning streak can be the catalyst for a strong performance in the postseason.

“We have momentum, we broke a club record tonight,” Brown told reporters. “It’s not like we’re a young club. We’re an old club with a tremendous history. Taking that kind of momentum into the playoffs is important. It doesn’t guarantee anything but it certainly lets you feel you’re doing things the right way. The team has been fantastic.”

Third place in the East could potentially be worth an easier route to the Conference finals, with the injury-hit Boston Celtics, seeded second, likely opponents in the second round.

Philadelphia’s emergence this season marks a dramatic turnaround in fortunes, just two years after finishing bottom with a dismal 10-72 record.

Atlanta, the worst side in the East with a 24-58 record, saw its season end with another loss. Taurean Prince led the Hawks with 27 points while Tyler Dorsey had 17 off the bench.

The only sour note for the Sixers was an injury to forward Dario Saric, who left the game in the opening seconds nursing a cut lip and a chipped tooth after a collision with John Collins.

“It’s not an ideal time of year to lose a starting player on the first play of the game,” Brown said. “We’ll learn more about his condition when we get back to Philadelphia.”

In Washington, John Wall racked up 29 points as the Wizards topped the Celtics 113-101.

Wall pulled down 7 rebounds and provided 12 assists in the win as the Celtics, who are already assured of second place in the East, slipped to their fourth loss in five games.

Jaylen Brown led the Boston scorers with 27 points. Jayson Tatum had 12 points while Al Horford snagged 14 rebounds and added 10 points.

In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors brought their regular season campaign to a close with a tame defeat to the Utah Jazz.

The reigning NBA champions had already assured themselves of second place and were a long way off their best as they slumped to a 79-119 loss at Salt Lake City.

Kay Thompson led the scoring for the Warriors with 23 points but the Dubs were no match for the all-round offensive threat of the Jazz, who face the Trail Blazers on the road today to decide which team will finish third. Both have 48-33 records.

Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points and Derrick Favors added 16 points for the Jazz.

In other NBA games, it was: Hornets 119, Pacers 93; and Suns 124, Mavericks 97.

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