NEW YORK -- A win or a loss for the Sixers in their final game of the season had implications on their draft lottery odds.
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The Sixers, however, were playing for this season, not picks two months down the road.
"I don't know how all that stuff works," Justin Anderson, who scored a career-high 26 points, said. "I just know that I don't like to mess with the game. I like to compete and let the results take care of themselves."
Only the Nets (20-62), Suns (24-58) and Lakers (26-55 with a game in progress) have worse records this season. The Lakers, in this group, are notable. The Sixers will receive the Lakers' first-round pick if it falls out of the top three. The Lakers have a 46.9 percent chance to land a top-three pick and there is a 53.1 percent chance the pick will be outside of the top three, according to Bloomberg Sports.
Heading into the season finale, Brett Brown was not paying any mind to the lottery talk.
"You're going to coach the game, you're going to wake up tomorrow and it's going to be a new day," he said. "That's how we'll handle it."
And so the Sixers battled against the Knicks until the buzzer sounded.
There were six lead changes in the final 1:18. Nik Stauskas gave the Sixers a one-point lead off a three with 31.1 seconds to go. Maurice Ndour then scored the go-ahead basket with 18.3 seconds to go.
After Stauskas missed a layup, the Sixers had another chance off a jump ball. Stauskas, with one second on the clock, failed to connect on a game-winning trey (see feature highlight).
Six of the Sixers finished in double digits. Alex Poythress scored 18 points with six rebounds in the start in place of Dario Saric (plantar fasciitis) (see Injury Update). Richaun Holmes posted 15 points and seven rebounds. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot dropped 14 points. Both Stauskas and Tiago Splitter scored 12. Shawn Long also neared a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds. The Sixers shot 50.5 percent from the field in a season finale that did not show a team trying to lose.
"They really fought until the end," Brown said. "I think that has been the characteristic that has most stood out. Despite trades and injuries, I like what our guys do. They play with a genuine spirit."
The Sixers have stayed close-knit throughout their struggles. Anderson said the players spoke beforehand about enjoying their final game with the team as they know it. This offseason, the organization will address the roster through the draft, free agency and possible trades.
The Sixers finished up the season the way they had been playing all along.
"We're not going to quit, whether it's the last game, and continue to fight and just go out there and play hard," T.J. McConnell said. "I don't think you should try to change your game no matter the circumstances. We did a good job of that."