76ers

Sixers' late collapse sealed by Eric Gordon buzzer-beating 3

Sixers' late collapse sealed by Eric Gordon buzzer-beating 3

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If the Sixers are going to take the next step in their development, it’s going to start right before the game ends. 

The team has to figure out how to close out late in the fourth quarter. The Sixers have blown leads down the stretch in the past (a fairly common result in recent years), but their 105-104 defeat to the Rockets had a different burn to it (see observations).

“I think this is the toughest one,” T.J. McConnell said. “To work as hard as we did, I certainly think we deserved that one.”

The Sixers weren’t a lottery-bound team making a statement against a contender on Wednesday. This time around, they are a revamped and playoff-hungry squad with a chance to compete any given night. 

The Sixers took a 104-96 lead off a layup by Ben Simmons with 3:05 to play. They didn’t score again the rest of the evening. 

The Rockets closed out the game on a 9-0 run and stole the win with a deflating buzzer-beating three from Eric Gordon in the corner (see video). The Rockets earned a key basket leading up to that play when Joel Embiid toppled over James Harden while blocking a shot and was whistled for goaltending (see story). Harden went on to sink a free throw to cut the Sixers’ lead to two with 30 seconds to go. 

During that final three-minute stretch, the Sixers shot 0 for 4, including an uncharacteristic pair of three-point misses on back-to-back possessions from JJ Redick. They also committed a trio of turnovers and failed to get a shot to the rim while they were up two with six seconds remaining. 

Their last misstep led to the Rockets’ winning play. Brett Brown said he didn’t have “buyer’s remorse” for not calling a timeout to regroup before then. 

“The growth that we’re going to make to be in the game, have the chance to win a game against a really good Houston team isn’t good enough,” Brown said. “Ultimately we do have to be able to walk those games down with a little bit more authority.”

The Sixers’ crowd will have to wait another week for the team to try to deliver a ‘W’ in Philadelphia. The Sixers are 0-2 at the Wells Fargo Center and do not play at home again until next Wednesday against the Hawks. 

“The reason why it stings so much is because we’re on our home court,” Justin Anderson said. “We wanted to try to get our first win here in front of our fans.”

The Sixers are not practicing on Thursday. They will take the day off to regroup before they face the Mavericks and Rockets, again, on the road. 

While the team is not going to wallow in this loss, it won't forget the final three minutes either.

“It’s time to buckle down and get stops,” McConnell said.

LeBron James hits milestone but Cavs' woes continue

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LeBron James hits milestone but Cavs' woes continue

SAN ANTONIO -- LeBron James became the youngest player ever with 30,000 career points, then got upstaged by the youngest player on the court.

Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray -- a friend and mentee of James -- had 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals to lift San Antonio over the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers 114-102 on Tuesday night.

"He's fearless, he's not impressed," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the 21-year-old. "He really sets the pace for us. He's a fine defender. He's learning how to play the game and doing a fine job."

Murray, making his second start since replacing a healthy Tony Parker, needed that fortitude while battling James in the fourth quarter. He soared for a tip follow, then rose to disrupt James' driving layup, which led to a 3-pointer by Danny Green that gave the Spurs a 105-94 lead with 4:20 remaining (see full recap).

Warriors use big 2nd half to beat Knicks
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry scored 17 of his 32 points in the third quarter to go with seven assists and six rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors used a big second half to beat the New York Knicks 123-112 on Tuesday night.

Kevin Durant added 14 points, a career-high 14 assists and two blocks before his ejection with 2:50 left for a second technical. Zaza Pachulia added 13 points in Golden State's seventh straight victory in the series.

Curry made 8 of 15 from deep while sporting sneakers featuring the faces of his daughters Riley and Ryan and the message "I can do all things."

The Warriors bounced back from Saturday's eight-point defeat at Houston to improve to 10-0 following a loss this season (see full recap).

Westbrook's late basket lifts Thunder past Nets
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook had one goal on the Thunder's final possession: make it to the rim.

The Brooklyn Nets left him just enough space, and the reigning MVP put Oklahoma City over the top once again.

Westbrook made a go-ahead layup with 3.3 seconds left to help the Thunder rally from a 15-point second-half deficit and beat the Nets 109-108 on Tuesday night.

"They sat in the paint all game long," Westbrook said. "I was just trying a way to get to the basket,” (see full recap).

Temple scores 34 to push Kings past Magic
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Garrett Temple took over in the fourth quarter and led the struggling Sacramento Kings to a big win.

Temple scored 19 of his career-high 34 points in the final quarter to lift the Kings to a 105-99 win over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.

Willie Cauley-Stein had 21 points and nine rebounds and Buddy Hield added 13 points for the Kings, who stopped an eight-game losing streak. Temple accounted for all of Sacramento's points during a 17-6 run that put the Kings ahead 103-97 with 23.5 seconds to go.

"Garrett was in a rhythm," teammate Vince Carter said. "He was out there with veteran guys who just know how to make the right play. It was us being cognizant of `Hey, the hot guy's open, get it to him immediately.' And it worked out that way,” (see full recap).

Joel Embiid will fly solo for All-Star Game

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Joel Embiid will fly solo for All-Star Game

NEW YORK — Stephen Curry will be able to stock his All-Star roster with plenty of Golden State teammates.

Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were chosen as reserves Tuesday, giving the defending NBA champions a record-tying four All-Stars for the second straight year.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Washington Wizards also had two reserves selected, and they will go into the pool of players that Curry and fellow captain LeBron James can draft to comprise the teams for the Feb. 18 game in Los Angeles. Their rosters will be unveiled Thursday, though the selection process won't be televised.

Minnesota's Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns were chosen from the Western Conference, along with Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, San Antonio's LaMarcus Aldridge and Portland's Damian Lillard.

Besides Washington's John Wall and Bradley Beal, the rest of the Eastern Conference reserves were Boston's Al Horford, Cleveland's Kevin Love, New York's Kristaps Porzingis, Toronto's Kyle Lowry and Indiana's Victor Oladipo.

The starters were announced last week. Curry and the Warriors' Kevin Durant joined Houston's James Harden and New Orleans' Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins from the West, while the East players besides James were Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo, Boston's Kyrie Irving, Toronto's DeMar DeRozan and the Sixers’ Joel Embiid.

James and Curry earned the captain spots by being the leading vote-getters in fan balloting in each conference. They will not have to stick to conference affiliation when drafting their teams.

James will have the first pick after receiving the most total votes. After the starters are chosen, Curry will have the first pick among the reserves.

Beal, Oladipo, Porzingis and Towns were all first-time selections. Every other reserve will be making at least his third All-Star appearance.

The reserves were voted upon by the head coaches in each conference, who had to select two guards, three frontcourt players and two other players regardless of position. They were prohibited for voting for their own players.

Players having strong seasons who didn't make the cut included Detroit's Andre Drummond, the NBA's leading rebounder, Clippers guard Lou Williams, Houston's Chris Paul and Oklahoma City's Paul George.