Sixers' road support nearly made Embiid do this

Sixers' road support nearly made Embiid do this

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When the Hornets flashed Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly on the Jumbotron, their fans responded with “Luuuuuke.” 

Another chant quickly followed.

“E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!”

Yes, the Sixers fans were representing once again in Charlotte during a 128-114 win over the Hornets on Tuesday (see observations).

It’s a trend that has been happening all season — dedicated Sixers faithful traveling to road games or expressing their Sixers pride in cities they live in away from Philadelphia. 

They took it to a new level Sunday when 400 fans with the Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcast made the trip to Milwaukee and filled the BMO Harris Bradley Center with all the Sixers-related chants you could imagine (see video)

“Milwaukee was amazing,” Joel Embiid, who met with the fans after the game, said Tuesday. “I’m not a crier, but if I was I would have probably cried after the game when I talked to them.”

The enormity of the Sixers’ camaraderie impressed JJ Redick. 

“The thing the other night in Milwaukee was as cool as I’ve seen,” Redick said. “That’s something that in the U.S. you really don’t see that often. It’s probably more common in European soccer. The fans traveling like that and coming in full force is amazing.”

Embiid said he felt the same kind of vibe at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte when he heard the crowd chanting his mantra, “Trust the Process.” This time the fans were spread out around the arena and had the same impact on him. 

“Our fans are amazing; they travel so well,” Embiid said. “Everywhere we go, there’s always a lot of Sixers jerseys all over the place. I love that. I don’t want to look in the crowd and not see any people supporting us. I want to see people that are at the game trying to support us so I can play harder and make them have a great time.” 

The Sixers have proved they can win at home. They remain undefeated at the Wells Fargo Center in 2018. In order to lock up a playoff spot, and possibly attain home-court advantage, they will need to win on the road, too. Their fans have been showing up to help along the way. 

“Philly sports fans are the best,” Redick said. “It’s funny because I’ve played in a couple towns where when Philly or Boston or Chicago or the Knicks would be in town, the arena sometimes would be 30 or 40 percent visiting team crowds. It’s fun to be on the other end of that now where we travel well.”

LeBron continues triple-double tour

USA Today Images

LeBron continues triple-double tour

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 40 points as part of his third triple-double in four games and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 124-117 on Monday night as coach Tyronn Lue began his leave of absence to address health issues.

Lue said Monday in a statement he been dealing with chest pains and loss of sleep, and that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is. Associate head coach Larry Drew will run the team in Lue's absence.

James scored 17 points in the third quarter and finished with 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his 16th triple-double this season and 71st of his career.

The four-time MVP took over in the third beginning with back-to-back 3-pointers. After not getting a foul called on a third attempt, he finished Cleveland's next possession with a massive dunk. He was fouled attempting another dunk and made both free throws the following time down.

Milwaukee cut a 17-point lead to 117-109, but James drove the length of the floor for a dunk with just over a minute left.

Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love returned after missing six weeks because of a broken left hand and scored 18 points in 25 minutes. He sparked a 10-0 run in the second quarter with two 3-pointers

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points and went 11 for 11 at the foul line for Milwaukee, which is seventh in the Eastern Conference. Khris Middleton had 30 points, making 11 of 16 from the field (see full recap).

Heat set franchise scoring mark in 2OT win
MIAMI -- James Johnson scored a career-high 31 points, Kelly Olynyk added 30 off the bench and the Miami Heat set a franchise single-game scoring record by beating the Denver Nuggets 149-141 in double overtime Monday night.

Miami's total was also an NBA season-high and helped the Heat get back to the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Houston and Oklahoma City each scored 148 in games earlier this season.

Wayne Ellington scored 29 points for the Heat. Nikola Jokic had 34 for Denver, while Wilson Chandler added 26 for the Nuggets.

"That was as playoffs as it comes right there," Olynyk said.

The NBA's stat system crashed late in the first overtime, and crews were scrambling to determine the final numbers long after the buzzer. All that ultimately mattered was the score -- one that moved the Heat closer to a playoff berth and left the Nuggets two games back in the Western Conference race.

Neither team was at full strength. For Miami, Dwyane Wade (left hamstring strain) missed his fourth consecutive game, and Hassan Whiteside (left hip pain) sat out his fifth straight contest. Denver was without leading scorer Gary Harris, sidelined again by a strained right knee that could keep him out several more days (see full recap).

Oladipo, Pacers rally past Lakers
INDIANAPOLIS -- Victor Oladipo sparked a decisive run and finished with 20 points, Myles Turner had 21 points and the Indiana Pacers recovered from a poor start for a 110-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

The victory snapped Indiana's two-game losing streak.

Los Angeles was led by Kyle Kuzma with 27 points and Brook Lopez with 23, but the Lakers still lost their third straight.

Oladipo and Darren Collison got Indiana going with back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the third quarter for a 77-70 lead. After a layup from Julius Randle, Collison made a 20-footer and Lance Stephenson hit a 10-footer. When the 14-4 flurry ended, Indiana led 85-74 with 3:04 left in the third.

The Lakers never seriously challenged after that.

It was a stark contrast to the Lakers' fast start. Efficient shooting helped them take a 28-19 lead in the first quarter, but when the shooters cooled off, the Pacers charged back and used a 15-6 second-quarter run to make it 51-50 late in the period.

The Pacers still trailed 59-57 at the half -- before Oladipo helped flip things in the second half (see full recap).

New Eagles DE Michael Bennett gets taste of Philly fans

Photo courtesy of Jessica Camerato

New Eagles DE Michael Bennett gets taste of Philly fans

It didn’t take long for Michael Bennett to get acclimated with Philadelphia fans beyond football.

Bennett attended the Sixers' 108-94 win Hornets Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations). Donning a green sweatshirt, the newly-acquired defensive end received a rousing ovation when he was introduced on the Jumbotron. 

He wasn’t the only Eagles player sitting courtside. Safety Malcolm Jenkins watched the game across from the Hornets’ bench. 

Fans yelled loudly when Bennett stopped by to take a seat next to Jenkins. 

“You’re a monster!” one called out. 

“Mi-chael Ben-net!” another chanted. 

Bennett and Jenkins took photos and even held phones to snap selfies, not just once but throughout the game between quarters and during timeouts.