The 76ers (26-25) are vying for their first playoff appearance in six years, and after all the years of high draft picks and asking their fan base to "trust the process" as center Joel Embiid slowly and painstakingly worked his way back from knee injuries, the franchise appear to have finally turned a corner.
That trust was shown by 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, who opted to stand pat for the final 29 games with the roster he has. Philadelphia are also fully healthy in the sense Embiid has finally been cleared to play games on back-to-back nights and J. J. Redick has averaged 14.3 points in the four games he has played after missing seven with a knee injury.
Philadelphia have split those four games but are coming off an impressive 115-102 victory Tuesday night over a Washington team that entered the contest on a five-game winning streak without John Wall. Dario Saric had nine points in a game-opening 28-9 burst as the 76ers led by 17 after a quarter and never looked back.
Saric finished with 20 points while Embiid totaled 27 and 13 rebounds as all five starters finished in double figures for Philadelphia, which hit 14 of 28 from 3-point range and shot 54.9 percent overall.
New Orleans (28-25) made one major move to help compensate for the season-ending Achilles injury suffered by superstar center DeMarcus Cousins; acquiring forward Nikola Mirotic from the Chicago Bulls on February 1 as part of a four-player deal. The move restored size and some of the offense the 6' 10" Cousins provides, especially on the perimeter.
After scoring 18 points in his Pelicans debut, Mirotic was held to five in Monday's 133-109 loss at Utah. New Orleans were supposed to play Indiana on Wednesday night, but a leaky roof caused the game to be postponed and rescheduled for a later date.
The Pelicans made one other move before Thursday's trade deadline, sending forward Dante Cunningham to the Brooklyn Nets for guard Rashad Vaughn.