76ers hold off Magic, keep hopes of avoiding play-in alive

PHILADELPHIA – Surviving both an injury to Joel Embiid and a fourth-quarter surge by the Orlando Magic, the Philadelphia 76ers took an important step toward escaping the Eastern Conference play-in with a 125-game win. 113 on the Magic here at Wells Fargo. Center Friday evening.

Philadelphia (46-35) has now won seven straight and found itself tied with the Magic – now losers of three games in a row – for sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings with only the Sunday matches to be played. But all that quickly took a backseat late in the second quarter, when Embiid – playing his fifth game since returning from surgery on his left meniscus last month – showed up limping and clutching his knee left after making a basket.

But after immediately heading to the locker room, Embiid returned for the start of the second half and scored a 3-point basket, ultimately finishing with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists in 32 minutes. He was helped by his co-star, Tyrese Maxey, who finished with 28 points, including a couple of straight buckets in the final five minutes after Orlando pulled within six points to give the 76ers some breathing room to succeed in this one. out.

Friday’s game here, however, was one of several games from both conferences with massive ramifications for how the playoffs will play out, since Friday’s game opened with just three seeds having been decided with just two days of regular season basketball remaining.

The game that had the biggest immediate impact on what happened here Friday took place in Cleveland, where the Cavaliers got 33 points from Donovan Mitchell and 29 points and 13 rebounds from Jarrett Allen to beat the Indiana Pacers and give yourself a chance to reach the top. Seeded No. 2 with another win Sunday against Charlotte.

Meanwhile, in New York, the Knicks moved one step closer to securing at least the third seed in the East with a 111-107 victory over their crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Nets. Now, New York just needs a win against Chicago on Sunday at Madison Square Garden to lock itself into at least third place. Here’s where things stand in the Eastern Conference heading into Sunday’s final day of the regular season:

– Boston is locked into the top seed.

– Milwaukee will be the second seed if it beats Orlando; New York will be if it beats Chicago and Orlando beats Milwaukee; Cleveland will be if they beat Charlotte and New York and Milwaukee lose.

– New York will be the third seed if the Bucks and Knicks both win. Milwaukee will be the third seed if the Knicks win and the Bucks and Cavaliers lose. Cleveland will be the third seed if the Cavaliers win, the Knicks win and the Bucks lose.

– Cleveland will be the fourth seed if it loses or if the Cavaliers, Bucks and Knicks all win. Milwaukee will be fourth if New York and Cleveland win and the Bucks lose. New York will be fourth if the Knicks and Bucks lose and the Cavaliers win.

– Orlando will finish fifth if it wins against Milwaukee, thanks to its victory in the Southeast division. Indiana will finish fifth if it wins against Atlanta and Orlando loses. Philadelphia will finish fifth if it wins and Indiana and Orlando both lose.

– Indiana will finish sixth if it wins and Orlando wins. Philadelphia will finish sixth if it wins and Indiana or Orlando lose.

– Philadelphia will finish seventh if it wins and Orlando and Indiana both win. Miami will finish seventh if the Heat win against the Toronto Raptors, the 76ers and Pacers win and the Magic lose.

– Miami will finish eighth if it loses or if the Heat, Magic, 76ers and Pacers all win.

– Chicago is forced to finish ninth and Atlanta is forced to finish 10th.

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