January 07, 2015

With or without Sam Hinkie, the Philadelphia 76ers are headed toward a historically bad finish on the way to multiple first-round draft picks in June.

The Milwaukee Bucks seem to be doing their best to drop into better draft positioning, too.

With nothing left to play for other than higher lottery odds, the visiting Bucks can finish off a season sweep with a ninth straight victory over the league-worst 76ers on Sunday night.

Philadelphia (10-69) already has the worst record wrapped up but avoided its own all-time mark for fewest victories in an 82-game season with Tuesday's 107-93 win over New Orleans. Still, the 76ers would finish with the NBA's worst record since its 1972-73 nine-win team with an 0-3 final week - discounting Charlotte's 7-59 mark in a shortened 2011-12 season.

Hinkie won't be with the team for the end of it after resigning from his general manager position on Wednesday, giving way to Bryan Colangelo - a former NBA executive of the year and Philadelphia chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo's son.

However, the 76ers will continue stockpiling first-round draft picks without their three-year GM. Four more might be theirs for the taking at the June 25 draft.

"We're committed to the path that we said we were going to be on three years ago," coach Brett Brown said. "We're committed to that, no matter who was going to be in charge this draft, next season."

The 76ers were denied their first winning streak with Friday's 109-102 loss to New York, falling to a league-worst 7-33 at home. They have lost 13 of 14 games and 26 of 28.

Though not as pronounced as Philadelphia's woes, the Bucks (32-47) have dropped three straight at the tail end of a 2-8 slump.

They sit a half game ahead of the Knicks for 12th place in the Eastern Conference while Sacramento, Denver and the Pelicans hold similar records out West.

Milwaukee has played without leading scorer Khris Middleton in its last three losses due to a left thigh strain. Although there have been murmurs about Milwaukee playing it safe with Middleton for its final three contests, there are reports he could play on Sunday.

The Bucks averaged only 94.7 points during a 3-8 stretch through the first week of April, but defensive troubles haunted them in Friday's 124-109 loss at Boston. Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Jabari Parker added 18 points, but the Celtics became Milwaukee's fourth straight opponent to shoot at least 52 percent by finishing at 56.4.

The Bucks also committed 21 turnovers while dropping to 9-30 away from home with their fourth straight road loss.

''They put the pressure on us and we turned the ball over," coach Jason Kidd said. "When you do that here, it can be a long night.''

The Bucks logged a pair of wins over the 76ers back in November and December and can sweep their second straight season series with their fourth consecutive win in Philadelphia.

Milwaukee closes the season at Orlando on Monday night and at home against Indiana on Wednesday night. The 76ers finish at Toronto on Tuesday and Chicago on Wednesday.

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