In battle between a team barely clinging to playoff hopes and another that just had theirs erased on Thursday, one team kept its aspirations alive while the other sunk deeper in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia 76ers managed to hang on to the distant edge of the playoff picture Friday night in topping the Cleveland Cavaliers 97-87.
The win puts Philadelphia (29-43) 6.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the No. 8 playoff seed. In the extremely likely event that this win is not the building block towards a playoff berth in 2013, the 76ers hope the contest showed glimpses of Evan Turner‘s ability to enhance the foundation of Philly’s squads in the coming years.
A night after his Ohio State Buckeyes advanced to the Elite 8, Turner notched a double-double to lead the 76ers in both points (23) and rebounds (13) on Friday.
“Any type of win is a great win,” Turner said, via the Associated Press. “I got in a good rhythm coming right out of halftime. Any time when I’m attacking, I feel like I can be successful. The shots started falling, which was definitely cool.”
76ers Coach Doug Collins would probably like to see the team close out 2013 with wins against more quality opponents over the final 10 games; topping the Cavaliers would’ve certainly rang more impressive before Kyrie Irving went down to injury. Turner and Philly as a whole will have plenty they can prove in upcoming contests at the Miami Heat on April 6, at the Brooklyn Nets on April 9 and at the Indiana Pacers in the season finale on April 17.