76ers

Best of NBA: Late surge lifts Suns over Nets

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Best of NBA: Late surge lifts Suns over Nets

NEW YORK -- Devin Booker scored 32 points, Mike James added 24 and the Phoenix Suns rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Brooklyn Nets 122-114 on Tuesday night.

T.J. Warren scored 14 of his 20 points during the final period for the Suns, who squandered an 18-point lead in the third quarter when Brooklyn went on a 17-0 run. Phoenix seemed out of it after Ronda Hollis-Jefferson's basket gave Brooklyn a 106-98 lead with 6:35 left in the fourth.

But the Suns, who lost a tough one at Portland on Saturday, quickly answered with a 24-8 run for their first win on their five-game road trip.

D'Angelo Russell scored 33 points and Hollis-Jefferson had 21 for the Nets, who've lost three straight after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers last Wednesday at home.

Warren and James combined on a 7-0 run that closed the lead to 106-101 with 6:15, forcing the Nets to call a timeout.

After a miss by the Nets, Warren tipped in Booker's failed layup to initiate a 9-0 run capped by Dragan Bender's 3-pointer that gave the Suns a 116-108 lead with 2:03 left in the game (see full recap).

George, Thunder cruise to win over Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Paul George scored 20 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder dominated the paint during a 16-0 run to take control early in a 110-91 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

Russell Westbrook had 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, while Carmelo Anthony scored eight of his 17 points in the pivotal first quarter.

Oklahoma City went from down four to a 20-8 lead on George's jumper with 4:16 left in the first. It was essentially over from there, especially with the way Westbrook kept finding driving lanes.

The reigning MVP dished off to Steven Adams in the paint when he wasn't taking it to the hoop himself. Adams finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Jerami Grant added 17 points off the bench for the Thunder.

Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting. But the NBA's scoring leader spent much of the first quarter on the bench with two fouls, and the Bucks struggled from the 3-point line, opening 1 of 14.

No other Buck scored in double figures.

The star-laden Thunder taught a lesson to the up-and-coming Bucks, who hope to contend in the Eastern Conference (see full recap).

Balanced Lakers roll over Pistons
LOS ANGELES -- Julius Randle scored 17 points, Lonzo Ball added 13 and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons 113-93 on Tuesday night.

Larry Nance Jr. had 14 points and 12 rebounds for his third double-double for the Lakers, who had lost the previous three games against the Pistons. Brandon Ingram and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each had 13 points.

Tobias Harris and Reggie Jackson each had 18 points for the Pistons, who were unable to sweep their three-game California road trip. Andre Drummond had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy was unsure about how his team might handle the adulation associated with a surprising 5-2 start, and those concerns proved to be well-founded as the Lakers took a 58-45 halftime lead when Brook Lopez hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer expired.

Rookie Kyle Kuzma had 10 points off the bench in the second quarter, making 4 of 5 shots and knocking down both of his 3-pointers as the Lakers pushed their lead to as much as 14 (see full recap).

Give and Go: What should Sixers be thankful for the most?

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Give and Go: What should Sixers be thankful for the most?

Each week, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are NBC Sports Philadelphia anchor/reporter Marshall Harris, NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com producer/reporter Paul Hudrick and NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com producer/reporter Matt Haughton.

In this edition, we examine what the Sixers should be thankful for the most on this Thanksgiving.

Harris
At first glance, you take a look at Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and remember that they combined for 31 games last season and the impulse is to say health. However, we can’t ignore the injuries that have befallen the team outside of those two engines. The Sixers have been hurting without the likes of Markelle Fultz, Jerryd Bayless, Nik Stauskas and Justin Anderson at their full disposal of late. So health hasn’t been their thing, really.
 
What the Sixers should be thankful for is that despite being shorthanded, they made it through 17 games of the season with a winning record. That’s in spite of 10 of those games being on the road and two games each against Golden State and Houston already in the books. 

Since a 1-4 start, the Sixers have lost just three times in their last 12 games, and two of those losses were to arguably one of the greatest teams in history in the Warriors. Suddenly everyone is reaching for their abacus or calculator, and they should be. Who had the Sixers with a winning record at Thanksgiving?
 
Here’s the thing, two weeks ago Jim Lynam told me the Sixers would be a top four seed in the East. I wasn’t ready to embrace that idea. I’m ready to admit my 39-win prediction may not be up to the task. Perhaps we all need to recognize that the Sixers, youth and all, are up to the challenge of not just squeaking into the playoffs. At their current rate of growth, they look like a team that could get the 45 wins they’re already on pace to achieve and maybe even more.

Hudrick
Health is the obvious thing to be most thankful for, but I'll take it a step further. The Sixers should be thankful that the best is yet to come.

Any other season during The Process, Markelle Fultz's situation — being the No. 1 overall pick that the team traded up to acquire that suffered a weird injury the team appeared to mishandle — would be considered a catastrophe. To say Fultz has become an afterthought would be a stretch, but his situation has certainly taken a backseat to Embiid, Simmons and the Sixers' success.

We won't know the full extent of Fultz's impact and role for quite some time. But the thought of Embiid, Simmons and Fultz on the court together should still tantalize Sixers fans. I'm still dying to see what Fultz can do in pick-and-roll situations with Embiid and even Simmons.

Am I worried about the jumper? Yeah, a little. But this is a guy who took five threes a night in college and shot 41 percent from distance. He then went on to shot 38 percent on five treys a contest during three summer league games. I still believe the shot is there. He just needs to get his confidence back and his shoulder healthy.

And don't listen to the doubters. Markelle Fultz is an excellent basketball player and was the top pick in the draft for a reason. He's not Anthony Bennett or Andrea Bargnani. This kid can play.

And the Sixers should be thankful when looking at his future.

Haughton
While Embiid already shared what he’s thankful for on this holiday, the Sixers can only look back on how they landed the budding big man and smile.

Let’s rewind a bit. Embiid was well on his way to being the No. 1 overall pick in 2014 as he averaged 11.2 points on an insane 62.6 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game during his lone season at Kansas. That was until he suffered a stress fracture in his back late in the season that sidelined him for the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments.

Even after the back injury, Embiid appeared on his way to locking up the top spot in the draft … until the next setback. This time it was a broken foot suffered just before the draft that cast serious doubt about his long-term health.

As Sixers fans know all too well, that troublesome foot caused Embiid to miss his first two NBA seasons. However, what they’ve witnessed since has been nothing short of spectacular. In just 46 career games, Embiid has averaged 21.0 points (48.2 percent shooting), 8.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 blocks. His superstar ability has captured the hearts of the team’s faithful, and his huge social media presence has only made them love him even more.

As for the two players taken before Embiid, their careers don’t exactly appear to be trending in the same direction. No. 1 overall selection and Embiid’s Kansas teammate, Andrew Wiggins, has shown flashes of brilliance. However, his production with the revamped Minnesota Timberwolves is down this season after signing a massive extension of his own, and questions remain about whether he can go from being a very good player to great. As for No. 2 pick Jabari Parker, he’s been a stud on the court for the Milwaukee Bucks but is recovering from a second left ACL tear since 2014.

All in all, Embiid is the prize of the crop and fell into the Sixers’ laps. So this Thanksgiving the Sixers should take a moment to reminisce about the process that brought them “The Process.”

Joel Embiid has plenty of reasons to be thankful

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Joel Embiid has plenty of reasons to be thankful

Joel Embiid is very appreciative. He is healthy, signed a mega-contract and has become the face of a franchise on the rise. 

The night before Thanksgiving, following a 20-point win over the Trail Blazers, Embiid reflected on why he is thankful.

“I’m thankful for my family,” Embiid, who grew up in Cameroon, said. “I live by myself, they don’t live here. But my mom is actually here.”

Embiid’s mother took in Wednesday’s action from courtside at the Wells Fargo Center and was all smiles as her son put up 28 points (11 for 19 shooting), 12 rebounds and two blocks in the 101-81 victory (see game recap).

Embiid also recognized the Sixers’ faithful, who have pulled for him during injury after injury and never wavered from their trust in the process.

“I’m thankful for the city of Philadelphia,” Embiid said. “This has become my home and I hope to be here for the rest of my career. I’m just thankful for the fans and just everybody around me, people that have been supporting me.” 

Embiid even gave a shoutout to the media, which doesn’t always happen, especially after a team struggled for so long.

“You guys hype me up so much,” he said. “So thank you.”

And last but not least, the player with 1.02 million followers on Twitter and another 1.4 million on Instagram, Embiid is grateful for every like and retweet. 

“I’m thankful for social media,” he said. 

#Fitting. #Thankful. #HappyThanksgiving