April 15, 2014

Sam Hinkie couldn't even stick around to see if the sorry Philadelphia 76ers team he built could win consecutive games.

The opportunity for that to happen for the first time this season comes Friday night against the visiting New York Knicks, two days after the general manager packed up his office and bid a 10-68 team adieu.

Former NBA executive of the year Bryan Colangelo - Philadelphia chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo's son - is set to take Hinkie's place after the third-year GM announced his resignation Wednesday.

It comes with just four games remaining and a substantial offseason approaching that could include four first-round draft picks to complement the likes of injured Jahlil Okafor, oft-injured Nerlens Noel and always-injured Joel Embiid. There's also Dario Saric, who is overseas.

As for those on the court for Philadelphia, they'll try to follow up Tuesday's 107-93 home victory over New Orleans by stringing together wins for the first time since March 16 and 18, 2015, the latter of which was a home win over the Knicks (31-48).

The victory over the Pelicans featured about as many relevant NBA names as the back end of a 10-player deadline deal. New Orleans didn't start a player averaging over 7.8 points, and the 76ers leaned on Carl Landry for a game-high 22 points while Isaiah Canaan had 16.

It wasn't without historical relevance as it ensured the 76ers won't tie their own league record for fewest victories in an 82-game season from 1972-73.

"We didn't want to be a part of that," said Landry, who shot 9 for 10. "We tried to do whatever it took to lock in, in practice, in film sessions and just have a carryover to each and every game."

The crowd showed its appreciation with an MVP chant - ironic or otherwise - for the big man, who has averaged 19 points on 72.7 percent shooting in the last three games. The trinity of Okafor, Noel and Embiid has combined for four points in 17 minutes in that time.

"It was funny. It definitely put a smile on my face, and makes me feel good," Landry told the team's official website. "... It definitely made me feel good that the fans of Philly, blue-collar people, a majority of them, appreciate the effort I put in each and every day."

The people's MVP could be the key to denying the Knicks their first sweep of this season series since 1994-95. Landry has been limited to four minutes of playing time in the three meetings.

New York has won four straight and eight of nine over the Sixers but enters this matchup having dropped five of six overall, including Wednesday's 111-97 home loss to Charlotte.

The Knicks have three games left to avoid a second straight 50-loss season a year after dropping a franchise-worst 65, and this is easily their most winnable with a home game against Toronto followed by a trip to Indiana.

"These next couple days are very challenging as athletes, to kind of stay strong and close the season out," Carmelo Anthony said.

Anthony returned from a game off to rest and scored 15 points, but New York remained without injured starters Kristaps Porzingis and Jose Calderon.

Anthony has been limited to 15.7 points on 27.6 percent shooting in three games against Philadelphia this season. Arron Afflalo has averaged 20 points on 57.5 percent and hit 6 of 13 from 3-point range.

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