76ers

Heat launch from deep for overtime victory

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Heat launch from deep for overtime victory

MIAMI -- Wayne Ellington scored 24 points, Goran Dragic added 19 and the Miami Heat survived a back-and-forth flurry in the final minutes to beat the New York Knicks 107-103 in overtime on Friday night.

Josh Richardson scored 18 and Tyler Johnson added 16 for Miami, which went 19 for 20 from the foul line -- 13 for 13 after halftime. The Heat set a franchise record by taking 42 3-pointers, and Ellington had another team all-time mark by attempting 16.

Doug McDermott's 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime, and the Knicks led twice in the extra session. Miami finished the game on a 7-2 spurt, started by a 3 from Ellington with 2:22 remaining.

Courtney Lee scored 24 for New York, which got 20 from Michael Beasley and 15 from Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks lost despite shooting 49 percent and holding the Heat to 40 percent (see full recap).

Hornets rout Lakers in Ball’s return
LOS ANGELES -- Kemba Walker had 19 points and seven assists, and the Charlotte Hornets wrapped up a solid road trip with their first back-to-back victories since Thanksgiving, beating the spiraling Los Angeles Lakers 108-94 on Friday night.

Jeremy Lamb scored 17 points and Marvin Williams added 16 for the Hornets, who won three of four in California and avenged their home loss to the Lakers last month. Six players scored in double figures for Charlotte, which has won four of six overall.

Lonzo Ball had 11 points and five assists in his first game since Dec. 23 for the Lakers, who have lost nine straight since Dec. 20. The rookie point guard missed six games with a sprained left shoulder, and he returned in limited minutes while rebuilding his strength.

Brandon Ingram had 22 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, but Los Angeles dropped to 1-12 since winning at Charlotte on Dec. 9. The Lakers (11-27) are in last place in the Western Conference.

Dwight Howard had 15 points and 10 rebounds while the Hornets had little trouble staying ahead of the Lakers after the opening minutes. Charlotte took a 16-point lead in the first half and stretched it to 21 in the third quarter (see full recap).

Raptors ride huge 3rd quarter to win
MILWAUKEE -- Jonas Valanciunas scored all of his 20 points in the decisive third quarter and the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks for the second time this week, 129-110 on Friday night.

Toronto outscored Milwaukee 43-19 in the third quarter to win its fourth consecutive game, including a 131-127 overtime victory over the Bucks on Monday. The Raptors have won 10 of 12.

Valanciunas picked up two fouls in the first 86 seconds of the game and was held scoreless without taking a shot in just five minutes during the first half. He played the entire third quarter, going 8 of 9 and grabbing nine of his 13 rebounds, as the Raptors extended a two-point halftime lead to 104-78.

Toronto made 17 of 25 shots in the quarter and outrebounded the Bucks, 18-2. The Raptors outscored Milwaukee 27-9 in the final six minutes of the quarter.

Serge Ibaka scored 17 of his team-high 21 points in the first half, and DeMar DeRozan, who scored 52 points in the Raptors' win over Milwaukee on Monday, had 14 of his 20 in the third.

Valanciunas and DeRozan combined to make 14 of 16 shots and score 34 points in the third. DeRozan, Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry, who had 16 points, all rested in the fourth quarter (see full recap).

Former Sixers guard named HOF finalist

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Former Sixers guard named HOF finalist

Former Sixers player and head coach Maurice Cheeks on Saturday was named a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Other candidates include Grant Hill, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and former Sixer Chris Webber.

Cheeks, a four-time All-Star point guard and member of the 1982-83 championship team, spent 10 seasons with the Sixers before stints with the San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks and New Jersey Nets. He averaged 12.2 points, 7.3 assists and 2.3 steals a night in 853 career games. Cheeks ranks in the top-five in NBA history in both assists (7,392) and steals (2,310). He was also voted to the NBA All-Defensive team five times.

Currently an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Cheeks was the Sixers' head coach from 2005-2008, but was fired after a slow start to the 2008-09 season. He was also the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons. He has a 305-315 career record and has made the postseason three times in nine seasons.

Sixers show they're ready to take over the world

Sixers show they're ready to take over the world

LOS ANGELES — The Sixers made their mark among the NBA’s top young talent on a global scale.

Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Ben Simmons (Australia) and Dario Saric (Croatia) all started for Team World Friday in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars game. They helped kick off All-Star weekend with a 155-124 victory over Team USA. 

Simmons recorded a double-double, which is becoming clockwork for the point guard (22 in the regular season, six triple-doubles). He posted 11 points off a perfect 5 for 5 from the field and 1 for 1 from the line. Simmons added 13 assists, six boards and four steals. 

This game was, in a way, a double statement for Simmons. It was an an opportunity to make a case for Rookie of the Year, with fellow contender Donovan Mitchell competing on Team USA. Mitchell notched seven points (3 for 10 from the field, 1 for 6 from three), seven assists, two rebounds, five steals and two blocks.

The Rising Stars contest also was a chance for Simmons to start an early bid for the 2019 All-Star team. He was popular among the fan votes but was not selected as one of four replacements required because of injuries. 

Simmons projects he will be playing in the All-Star Game “hopefully next year.” When it came down to why he was not on this season’s list, Simmons replied, “I think just votes.” 

Saric continued his offensive momentum with 18 points, including 4 for 7 shooting from three. He has scored in double digits in his last 35 games leading into the All-Star break. Saric also grabbed three rebounds and dished five assists. 

“I’ve always got the wish or dream in my life one day to be part of something big like this, even if it’s the Rising Stars game,” Saric said of participating in All-Star weekend. “I think it makes my family proud, my friends from my hometown, or all the people who were around me during my [growth as] a basketball player.”

Embiid logged the least playing time of the Sixers’ trio as he prepares to compete in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge Saturday and start in the All-Star Game Sunday. He missed the Sixers’ last game on Wednesday because of right ankle soreness. Embiid scored five points and two rebounds in less than nine minutes. 

“On Sunday, I expect to go harder,” Embiid said (see story). “I’m going for that MVP. Guys better make sure they find me because I’m looking to have a good game.”

Not listed on the box score: Embiid and Simmons going 2 for 2 as roving reporters. Check out their journalistic skills when they got the mic Friday to interview each other (see video).