76ers

Sixers catch fire from 3-point range in win over Hornets

Sixers catch fire from 3-point range in win over Hornets

BOX SCORE

The Hornets put up a fight before the Sixers locked in for a 108-94 win Monday at the Wells Fargo Center. 

The Sixers’ 14-point victory was closer than the final score reflects. They trailed the Hornets by as much as seven and went through 11 lead changes and six ties. The Hornets overcame a 4-for-21 shooting performance in the third quarter to tie the game halfway through the fourth before the Sixers pulled ahead for their 39th win of the season (39-30). The Hornets fell to 30-41.

• The Sixers signed Marco Belinelli with the vision of him being a JJ Redick-type player in the second unit. The veteran got hot in this game, scoring 21 points off the bench. Belinelli shot 5 for 9 from three in 24 minutes. Overall, the Sixers drained 18 shots from distance on 44 attempts (40.9 percent).

• Ben Simmons posted his ninth triple-double of the season (11 points, 12 rebounds, 15 assists, zero turnovers), ironically just hours after pointing out the wear and tear of the NBA schedule is catching up. Before the game, he said the team has been “kind of mentally fatigued.” 

“It's just frustrating,” Simmons said. “Missing plays or just messing up on the floor, turnovers, rebounds that you should have gotten, it's just the little things that kind of get under your skin.”

• In the battle of the bigs, Joel Embiid emerged on top with 25 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks. (He also committed nine turnovers). Dwight Howard (10 points, four rebounds) and Amir Johnson (five points, one three-pointer, seven rebounds) were involved in a throwback big man matchup, circa 2005. Both centers were drafted straight out of high school. The Sixers had the advantage on the boards, 60-40. 

• Justin Anderson earned first-quarter minutes after a solid showing in the Sixers’ previous game. He finished with seven points, four boards and two assists in 20 minutes. Dario Saric, who's been a reliable offensive contributor, scored just five points. 

• Kemba Walker bounced back from his offensive struggles in the previous matchup between the two teams to lead the Hornets with 24 points, eight rebounds and six dimes. 

• Nicolas Batum (left Achilles soreness) did not play. The Hornets missed his 11.9 points, 5.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. 

• Eagles Michael Bennett and Malcolm Jenkins took in the action.

Sixers' turnover-filled nightmare comes with silver lining

ap-ben-simmons-heat.jpg
AP Images/ USA Today Images

Sixers' turnover-filled nightmare comes with silver lining

Brett Brown sat at the podium with a puzzled look on his face as he stared at the box score.

Sure, he’d likely already been told that the Sixers had a season-high 27 turnovers in their 106-102 Game 4 win over the Miami Heat. But it’s one thing to hear it from someone else and another to see it written down in black and white.

“The fact that you can actually win a playoff game with this volume of turnovers is mind-boggling,” Brown said.

The Sixers’ level of carelessness on Saturday was equally astonishing.

For three quarters, the Sixers resembled the regular-season version of the team we have become accustomed to seeing over the years under Brown. They had the ball stolen on dribble moves and their passes intercepted. They had passes sail out of bounds and committed offensive fouls.

Simply put, the Sixers were tripping over themselves to give the ball back to the Heat.

“The first three periods, I was shocked to look up at the scoreboard and not feel like you’re just down 15, 14, 18 given the way the game went,” Brown said.

“I’m shocked that we won this game. We really didn’t have a right to win this game. I thought that, defensively, in the first three periods, we were a C-minus. I thought that our turnovers were an F.”

While a lot of that had to do with the Sixers’ own sloppiness, the Heat’s level of desperation was certainly a factor.

“Coming into this game this afternoon, you know you’re going to get the Miami Heat’s best,” Brown said. “It’s a culture of winning. They’ve won championships. Spo’s (Erik Spoelstra) a hell of a coach. You knew they were going to be all wound up. Like I said before, you didn’t have to be a mystic to guess what this was going to look like. 

“And they jumped us and we didn’t handle it well. We had multiple turnovers. I thought in Game 3 we responded to the physicality with only 12 and we did some things fundamentally more correct. There were several times in tonight’s game that they got the better of us and this environment got the better of us a little bit.”

Not when it mattered most.

The Sixers committed just three of those 27 turnovers in the fourth quarter as they dominated another final period to finish off the comeback.

And while the Sixers know they will never reach their playoff goals if they continue giving the ball away at such a rapid rate, they were pleased the team could stop the bleeding in crunch time with the game on the line.

“I think we did a great job of coming back, staying poised and playing as a team,” Ben Simmons said. “Going through our structured plays, whatever it is, defensively and offensively.” 

“I feel that we have been trending in a way that the fourth-period execution, the fourth-period mentality — defensively driven — has been our identity,” Brown said. “Then you go to the other side and say, well, we did a pretty good job of not turning the ball over. Three turnovers, by our standards, is an A-plus.”

Why Dwyane Wade thinks Sixers are 'special'

Why Dwyane Wade thinks Sixers are 'special'

MIAMI — For the 13 first rounds Dwyane Wade has played in, the current Sixers-Heat matchup has made a strong impression.

“They’re good,” Wade said. “They’re special. They’re a good group. They put the right team together.”

Sitting at the podium, Wade spent a good amount of time during his press conference praising the team that has put the Heat on the brink of elimination. He’s been on the winning side often, including three championships, so he recognizes a unique team when he sees it. 

“This definitely is one of the best first-round series I’ve ever played in, first-round opponent,” Wade said.

The Sixers have gone up 3-1 on the Heat with a roster that is balanced both positionally and in experience. Seven players finished in double digits Saturday and only veteran JJ Redick had more than 20 points. Ben Simmons, with whom Wade already has a relationship (see story), recorded his first career playoff triple-double (17 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists). He became the youngest player to do so since Wade’s former teammate LeBron James back in 2006. 

"I give a lot of credit to their point guard, their leader, Ben,” Wade said. “He does a great job of getting them settled, getting the ball to his guys, and keep feeding confidence to them.”

Wade described the Sixers as having “an edge.” They will use it to test the Heat Tuesday when the series returns to Philadelphia. Wade encourages his teammates to play with maturity and withstand the Sixers’ runs. The Heat split the first two games at the Wells Fargo Center. 

“They’re going to play with pace, play with speed, play physical,” Wade said. “Obviously they’re going to play with their crowd. It’s going to be a high energy type of game from them … All we’ve got to do is just worry about this one game and giving everything we have for that game. You walk out of that game, you gave everything you had, you can live with whatever result is there at the end.”

Wade, 36, has had vintage moments against the Sixers in this series. He led all players with 28 points off the bench in the Heat’s Game 2 win. On Sunday, he scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter alone. 

Asked about the possibility of this game against the Sixers being his last game in Miami playing for the Heat, Wade said, “I won’t answer that right now. I’ve got another game to play. I’m focused on the next game and trying to win that one.”

What he will answer is questions about his competition. 

"They’re a very good team," Wade said. "I can’t say nothing negative about them at all. So far they’ve been great opponents.”