Sixers-Suns observations: A real letdown at home

Sixers-Suns observations: A real letdown at home


The Sixers haven’t had an outing like this in a while, a letdown game, especially on their home court. 

The Suns came into the Wells Fargo Center and took this one, 115-101, on Monday night. The last time the Sixers lost to a sub-.500 team was nearly a month ago to the Kings. 

But there is more to the Suns’ rocky record: there is Devin Booker. The Suns’ high-scoring guard dropped a season-high 46 points in their ninth win of the season. Booker, coming off a 38-point performance against the Celtics, started off 2 for 11 in the first quarter and then exploded after finding a rhythm. 

• Ben Simmons played through the flu. He didn’t think he would be able to play, staying in bed until noon with a 7 p.m. tipoff. Still, Brett Brown started Simmons and the rookie ended up performing better than most of the Sixers. Simmons had 20 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals in 36 minutes. 

"Honestly, not great," Simmons said of how he felt. "But I played, so if I didn't play then you'd know something's wrong."

• JJ Redick (25 points) tried to shoot the Sixers back into the game. After going 0 for 5 from long range through three quarters, he dropped 13 points in the fourth. The Sixers cut the deficit to five with 4:49 to go, but the Suns stepped on the gas to close it out with a 16-3 run. 

• Joel Embiid demolished two of Alex Len’s shot attempts with a pair of massive blocks. He had yet another double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds in 34 minutes. 

• Robert Covington is back in a shooting skid. He went 2 for 10 from three-point range in 34 minutes. 

• The Suns entered the game 8-16, last in points allowed (115.8), tied for third-highest opponent three-point shooting percentage (38.4), and fifth highest in opponent field goal percentage (47.1). The Sixers shot just 23.3 percent from three. 

• Josh Jackson had been in the mix of draft prospects when the Sixers had the third pick (pre-Celtics trade). The Suns ended up selecting Jackson fourth overall. The rookie showed his athleticism and speed. He isn’t putting up massive numbers off the bench (seven points, three rebounds), but played with high energy and feistiness trying to pick off steals. 

• The Sixers shot a perfect 16 for 16 from the line but gave up 22 points off 14 turnovers. 

• Injury/inactive update: T.J. McConnell (left shoulder), Justin Anderson (left leg) and Markelle Fultz (right shoulder) were out. Jahlil Okafor was inactive, as was Furkan Korkmaz who is on a G League assignment. Brandon Knight (left ACL), Davon Reed (left meniscus) and Alan Williams (right meniscus) were sidelined for the Suns.

• Amir Johnson and Tyson Chandler battled like it was 2006. The bigs have been in the league since 2005 and 2001, respectively. 

• Allen Iverson and former Eagle Brian Westbrook were at the game. Westbrook spoke to the Sixers during training camp as well. 

NBA admits mistake that leaves Sixers scratching their heads

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NBA admits mistake that leaves Sixers scratching their heads

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers were right.

The Sixers argued they should have set up at halfcourt, not fullcourt, for a decisive final possession of double overtime in Friday’s game against the Thunder. After a closer look following their triple-overtime loss, the NBA ruled the Sixers were proved correct. 

“After review, it was determined that the 76ers called timeout with 00:01.2 remaining on the game clock, which was prior to Saric's (PHI) dribble. Therefore, they should have been given the opportunity to advance the ball into their own frontcourt for the inbound,” the NBA Officiating’s Last Two Minute Report noted.

The confusion occurred at the end of the second overtime. Dario Saric got a defensive rebound and the Sixers called a timeout before he dribbled the ball. Because of this, the Sixers should have been allowed to set up a final play in the halfcourt, which is exactly what they had practiced and called.

But the referees made a last-second change as the Sixers were setting up. The Sixers were told they had to inbound from fullcourt, which would have been the case if Saric had dribbled before the timeout. The Last Two Minute Report indicated he, in fact, did not. 

“Respect that they are that transparent, but complete disappointment that it can happen,” Brett Brown said Sunday. “You really scratch your head. It’s significant.”

Every play, every basket can make a difference for a team fighting to make the playoffs. The Sixers were confident they could have won the game with the halfcourt play. Instead, they dropped back down to .500 and currently 10 in the Eastern Conference.

“Those things you need to avoid to give yourself every chance to win,” Brown said. “We can point to many other things that were self-inflicted wounds that we’ve got to do better. But when it’s that exposed and that prominent of an environment with 1.2 seconds left, it’s disappointing. But like I say, they’re transparent. I respect the fact they admitted it and we move on.”

Joel Embiid out Monday against Bulls; 2 other Sixers sidelined

Joel Embiid out Monday against Bulls; 2 other Sixers sidelined

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid does not play both games of a back-to-back, but whether he plays in either of the Sixers' next two matchups will have to be determined.

Embiid is not traveling with the Sixers to Chicago for Monday’s game against the suddenly-streaking Bulls, who have won five straight. The big man usually plays at home in these scenarios, and considering he played 49 minutes in Friday’s triple-overtime loss, the decision was expected.

Embiid’s availability for Tuesday at home against the Kings, though, has not been finalized at this point. This is not surprising either being two days ahead of the game. Embiid, who has been dealing with back tightness, did not participate in practice Sunday. The Sixers will evaluate, monitor, and go through treatment with Embiid before making their call.

“Unsure at this stage,” Brett Brown said Sunday. “I do know he’s categorically out tomorrow and we’re going to learn more about him being available when we come back [for] Sacramento, I’d expect in the next 24 hours.”

The Sixers do know they will be without another two players for some time.

Trevor Booker will miss at least the next two games after suffering spraining his left ankle Friday. The newly acquired reserve will be reevaluated in approximately five-to-seven days.

Even though Booker was traded to the Sixers less than two weeks ago, he already made an impact on the second unit. Brown has seen enough over the last four games to know what the team will be missing.

“His toughness,” Brown said. “He’s got a motor. He plays with such a spirit. He’s a man. He’s a pro. He’s been in the league for a while. He gets it. It’s everything that you miss. It’s really everything this team needs.”

Furkan Korkmaz likely will be sidelined even longer. The rookie suffered a Lisfranc injury on his left foot while playing for the Delaware 87ers on Dec. 15 and is out indefinitely. The Sixers recalled Korkmaz from the G League and he is going through evaluation and testing. There is no timetable set for Korkmaz at this point.  

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons described the injury as, “Lisfranc (midfoot) injuries result if bones in the midfoot are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn. The severity of the injury can vary from simple to complex, involving many joints and bones in the midfoot.”

Korkmaz has been going back and forth between the Sixers and their G League affiliate in Delaware to get playing opportunities as part of his development in his first NBA season.