Tuesday night, in a boring game few people watched in person or on television, the 76ers battered the Nets by 19 points. With minimal coordination, both teams could have left the arena at halftime and enjoyed Skinnygirl margaritas in the Prudential Center parking lot while the first half was rebroadcast on the YES Network. At any rate, once the Sixers amassed a double-digit lead, the Nets concluded it made more sense to gather Ping-Pong balls in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes than to muster resistance. Happily, Kris Humphries, dissed by Kanye West on the recent track “Theraflu,” showed no ill effects.
For Philly, the bland affair was also a crucial victory. Mired in a perplexing and ill-timed slump, the team that led the Atlantic Division all season is now in the undignified position of clawing to preserve their playoff perch. After a 20-9 start, the Sixers have won only 10 of their last 26 games. Even after last night’s triumph over the Nets, they trail the Celtics by three games and are destined to scrounge for the unenviable seventh and eighth seeds with New York and Milwaukee.