Apr 07, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Spencer Hawes (00) sits on the bench with his head in his hands during the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic at the Wells Fargo Center. The Magic defeated the Sixers 88-82. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Hunting Fresh Prey: Bucks Closing in on 76ers


Give the New York Knicks credit.

Sure, the Knicks blew a 21-point first-half lead. They also teetered on the brink of defeat late, when any of four Chicago free throws could have salted away the game for the Bulls. But facing a tie for the eighth spot in the Easter Conference standing, with only a sliver of a chance to eke out a victory, the Knicks made some incredible shots and slithered their way to a win.

Carmelo Anthony’s 43-point gem on Easter in the Garden will be talked about for a long time.

As a result, the Bucks fell a full game behind New York in the standings — but hours later, they also pulled within a game of a plummeting Philadelphia squad.

With a loss to Boston, the 76ers fell into a tie with New York in the standings.  Philadelphia, after looking like a title contender in the season’s first month, have fizzled back to reality. In their last 26 games, they have 9 wins and 17 losses.

Here are the remaining ten games for the 76ers:

Tue Apr 10, 2012  @ New Jersey Nets
Wed Apr 11, 2012  @ Toronto Raptors
Fri Apr 13, 2012  v. New Jersey Nets
Mon Apr 16, 2012  @ Orlando Magic
Tue Apr 17, 2012  v. Indiana Pacers
Wed Apr 18, 2012  @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Sat Apr 21, 2012  @ Indiana Pacers
Mon Apr 23, 2012  @ New Jersey Nets
Wed Apr 25, 2012  @ Milwaukee Bucks
Thu Apr 26, 2012  @ Detroit Pistons

While that slate is not a Murderer’s Row of NBA teams (three games in 14 days against the Nets ?!?), note that Philadelphia has 8 of its 10 remaining games on the road — including five in a row (and four in six days) to close out the season.

April 25 also looms large — on the second-to-last day of the season, the Bucks and 76ers will play in the Bradley Center.  In addition to being one last mano y mano tilt for  a playoff spot, it will also determine the season tiebreaker. If the teams end up deadlocked at season’s end, head-to-head win-loss record breaks the tie.

Milwaukee and Philadelphia have split a pair of games this season to date. The next one could decide the season’s fate for both teams.

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