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April 10, 2017

Updating the Sixers’ lottery odds with three days left in the NBA season

We’re only three days away from NBA mock drafts starting to make sense for the first time all year (Oh yeah, the playoffs. Those, too). Sunday was another pivotal night in the tanking race, highlighted by a buzzer-beater that sent both Staples Center and Sixers fans into a frenzy. Let’s get you caught up…

Latest results

•    Sacramento loses to Houston, 135-128 (good)
•    Phoenix beats Dallas, 124-111 (bad, but not as harmful because...)
•    Lakers beat Minnesota 110-109

The Los Angeles Lakers, the same team that is playing Metta World Peace in crunch time, have won four straight basketball games. No, that is not a typo. Such a momentous occasion calls for both of the famous Laker fan GIFs:

(There was an emotional story behind D’Angelo Russell’s jumper, by the way. As much as we talk about tanking, the players on the court are still trying to win. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…)

Even with another Phoenix victory, the Suns’ “magic number” for the second-worst record in the NBA and all of the ping-pong balls that come with it is now at one. One Phoenix loss at Sacramento or one Lakers win against New Orleans or a Golden State team resting for the playoffs locks the Lakers into the third-worst record and a 53.1 percent chance that the Sixers receive that pick this season.

Tonight’s important games

•    Sixers vs. Indiana
•    Orlando at Chicago

The race for the fourth-worst record takes center stage tonight. Credit to Chicago, which found a way to lose games to both New York teams in the last week despite fighting for a playoff spot. Still, the best guess here is that the Sixers and Magic both pick up losses tonight and stay tied for the fourth-worst record.

One Tankathon Spin

Chaos! The New York Knicks won’t have the advantage of the frozen envelope this time around, but you can bet Adam Silver and the league office won’t be shedding any tears over its biggest market winning the lottery. The Knicks haven’t done a ton right, but Kristaps Porzingis and the draft’s top-overall pick is a decent start.

For the Sixers, would Josh Jackson fall to third? Scooping up him and Malik Monk would be a nice draft night for Bryan Colangelo and co.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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