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Sixers clinch 1st-round homecourt advantage, notch 1st 50-win season since 2001

The Philadelphia 76ers breezed to a 14th straight win on Sunday, coasting to a 109-97 victory over the Dallas Mavericks — notching their first 50-win season since an Allen Iverson-led 2000-01 Sixers team went 56-26 on its way to the NBA Finals.

Not only have the Sixers of today hit stride at the right time, just days away from getting into the playoffs — ending a six-year drought — but they’ve also secured first-round homecourt advantage by being 2.5 games over the fifth-place Indiana Pacers.

The Sixers will finish their season with a back-to-back, first Tuesday on the road against the Atlanta Hawks, who are still competing for one of the worst records in the league, despite Phoenix having clinched the worst over the weekend. Philly will then take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, who will likely fight tooth and nail to keep their seventh spot and draw a matchup with the wounded Boston Celtics.

There’s been plenty of smiles for the City of Brotherly Love this year, first with its first NFL championship, thanks to a heroic performance by backup quarterback Nick Foles, then only a week ago, Villanova brought it home for the second time in three years, securing another NCAA title.

This time around, the Sixers can be the next to make the city smile, hoping to get out of the first round while awaiting Joel Embiid’s imminent recovery from an orbital bone fracture.