76ers

Sixers' Amir Johnson, a Las Vegas resident, shaken by Strip massacre

Sixers' Amir Johnson, a Las Vegas resident, shaken by Strip massacre

CAMDEN, N.J. -- When Sixers forward Amir Johnson bought an offseason home minutes off the Las Vegas Strip three years ago, he never imagined there would be an attack in the city.

On Sunday night, more than 50 people were killed and over 500 hurt when a gunman opened fire into a crowd of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

“Devastating,” Johnson said.

Johnson was visibly shaken by the incident Monday afternoon at practice. His mother texted him from Las Vegas to let him know she was safe. Those who were harmed were on his mind.

“It almost leaves you lost for words and it had me tear up this morning just to kind of see, just think about the people that had the kids and all that shooting, shooting on the Strip,” he said. “It’s a very sad moment.”

Johnson said he plans to research more details of the shooting as they become available. He pointed to the possibility of tougher gun laws.

“I feel like we should make the gun laws a little bit more strict because I hate to hear stuff like this,” Johnson said. “With the school shootings, too, and they have guns in the school, they should just clean up this mess, man.”

The Las Vegas area has become an offseason home for many players around the NBA. Many, like Johnson, train at the well-known Impact Basketball on East Sunset Road in the summer. Las Vegas is also the site of Summer League as well as Team USA Basketball events.

Johnson, 30, didn’t think twice about being in the city. Now he does.

“It almost kind of second guesses you like, ‘Man, should I go to Vegas?’” Johnson said. “Because people [are] constantly coming in and out, hanging on the Strip. Then you’ve got to kind of second guess, man, maybe another massacre shooting is going to come out.

“It’s really scary, man, when you think about all the stuff that’s going on and now you’ve got to be worried about protesting, you’ve got hurricanes coming, and you just want to be safe. All you can do is really sit back and pray and keep your head on a swivel.”

The Sixers discussed the shooting before practice as part of a regular team discussion on current events.

“I would have never thought Vegas,” Johnson said. “Vegas is the fun spot.”

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

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AP Images

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

NEW YORK — The NBA has fined Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for responding to a fan with inappropriate language.

Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA' executive vice president of basketball operations, announced the fine Sunday.

Irving spoke to a fan at halftime of Boston's 102-92 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night (see story). 

The NBA fined Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for language he used toward a fan late in a loss to Memphis on Wednesday night in the season opener.

Without Joel Embiid in Toronto, Sixers 'jumped' in telling loss to Raptors

Without Joel Embiid in Toronto, Sixers 'jumped' in telling loss to Raptors

BOX SCORE

TORONTO — Ben Simmons' double-double feat aside, the Sixers have had little to enjoy about the start to the season.

They were outclassed Saturday night, 128-94, by the Toronto Raptors and have lost their first three games (see observations).

As has been their custom for back-to-back games, center Joel Embiid did not play Saturday after playing Friday in the loss to the Boston Celtics to protect his left knee.

Head coach Brett Brown said he did not expect things to go this way.

“I didn’t,” he said. “I knew the first three games were going to be difficult. I knew coming into this building after a back-to-back was going to be difficult, but you are certainly not expecting it to be that margin of a deficit. I give Toronto credit.

“We have a lot of work to do; we look forward to getting Joel (Embiid) back in this and continuing to learn how to play the group.”

After trailing by as many as 17 points in the first quarter, the Sixers whittled the lead to eight when Jerryd Bayless hit a couple of free throws with 2:22 left in the first half.

Toronto led 62-49 at the half and blitzed the Sixers to open the third quarter with Serge Ibaka scoring eight of their first 10 points of the second half. With 3:12 left in the third, the Raptors led by 29.

“They jumped us, especially at the start of the third, certainly portions of the first period but especially the start of the third and you’re just playing catch up pretty much for the rest of the game after that first almost minute, minute and a half,” Brown said.

“You’re just trying to find some type of order and purpose to end the game with that in mind.”

It was a subdued atmosphere in the dressing room after the game.

The edge surely was removed from another double-double by Simmons.

He had 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Simmons joins Oscar Robertson as the only NBA players to average 10-plus points, 10-plus rebounds and five-plus assists in their first three career games.

“It looks great, but I’d rather have a win,” he said. “I’d rather we had three wins than three double-doubles.”

Simmons said he is looking forward to Embiid returning to the lineup Monday against the Detroit Pistons.

He said he could feel the game slipping away Saturday.

“Toward the third, coming out we just didn’t click, didn’t have it together,” Simmons said. “It’s tough without Joel (Embiid), obviously there’s chemistry and then you switch it up, so that comes into it, but we need to learn to play without him, with those back-to-backs.

“We have to stay together as a team, talk it out, get through it, communicate on the court and hold each other accountable. … We have to sit down and look at what we did wrong, that’s with every game, you have to fix your mistakes and come out ready for the next one. It’s a long season.”

It could seem even longer if there aren't signs of improvement.

“Coach Brown has talked since Day 1 of camp about our goal; to build every day, to take something positive every day and I think for tonight, we were unable to do that,” guard J.J. Redick said. “I was just saying if it’s a six-minute stretch where we are doing things well, cutting into their lead, that’s something to build on. I don’t think we did that before but that’s what I was trying to get across.

“I’m a patient person; if we were 0-45 then I’ll start to panic. There are 82 games, we have a very tough schedule to start, we’re a young team, and that’s not an excuse but the reality is the team we played tonight and the team we played in D.C. Wednesday night, they’ve been together a long time and know how to play together. We have to figure out a way to jell quicker and we have to understand and close our margin for error.”