76ers

Sixers trade Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas to Nets

Sixers trade Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas to Nets

Updated: 6:52 p.m.

Well, it's about time.

The Sixers on Thursday night traded Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas and a 2019 second-round pick to the Brooklyn Nets for 6-foot-7 power forward Trevor Booker.

"Jahlil and Nik are both quality young men with talent that should keep them productive in this league a long time," Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement released by the team. "We hope they find more opportunity in Brooklyn this season and thank them for their contributions over the past few years.”

The Sixers have been shopping Okafor for the better part of a year now, but have been hesitant to pull the trigger on just any deal. 

The beleaguered center has appeared in just two games for the Sixers this season, scoring 10 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes.

Okafor fell victim to a numbers game over the past year, slipping behind a healthy Joel Embiid, Richaun Holmes and even Amir Johnson this season (see story).

The No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft made his displeasure with the situation known as the team sought a trade that would benefit the team and allow Okafor playing time.

Stauskas, who was the eighth overall pick in 2014 by the Kings, was traded to the Sixers in July 2015. Like Okafor, his stats and minutes diminished over the years.

The shooting guard averaged 24.8 minutes per game in his first season with the Sixers, 27.4 in his second, but then only 7.5 this season. He also averaged 8.5 points per game in 2015-16, 9.5 in 2016-17, but accounted for only 0.7 in six games this year, easily his career low over four NBA seasons.

The Sixers receive Booker, an eight-year veteran, in return. The 30-year-old averaged 10 points, 7.8 rebounds and two assists in his two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets.

“Trevor Booker has been a solid and competitive two-way contributor at every NBA stop," Colangelo said. "Trevor’s abilities should complement our style of play and his experience should add to our bench depth with playoff contention in mind."

Joel Embiid puts back pain aside to get Sixers 'needed' OT win

Joel Embiid puts back pain aside to get Sixers 'needed' OT win

BOX SCORE

MINNEAPOLIS -- Joel Embiid's presence was arguably the biggest factor in the Sixers’ snapping their four-game losing streak on Tuesday.

The center was especially key in the final two minutes of regulation and in overtime, as the 76ers defeated the Timberwolves 118-112 (see observations).

Embiid assisted on Ben Simmons' go-ahead dunk with 1:17 remaining in regulation and hit the game-tying free throws with 14 seconds remaining. He then scored seven points in overtime, including a three-pointer that gave the Sixers a seven-point lead with 1:39 to go.

Embiid finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes, despite missing the two previous games in Cleveland and New Orleans with back tightness.

"I would not have expected him to play as well as he played or as many minutes as he played," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "… He obviously was massive."

Embiid said he didn't feel 100 percent going into Tuesday's game and added that his back was really tight before the game against New Orleans. He said he didn't have the lift during Tuesday's game that he typically does but that he knew his back would get tight while sitting.

"We needed this," he said of the win.

Embiid’s being in the lineup changes how the 76ers' offense operates, rookie Ben Simmons said. Embiid changes the team's spacing but also gives the Sixers an offensive presence in the post.

"You have to find your spot, but it's a big help also," Simmons said.

Simmons finished with just seven points, as Timberwolves' wings Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins guarded him most of the night. However, the rookie was key down the stretch as he scored all seven points in the final 6:17 or regulation and overtime.

Brown noted how Simmons ended up with a rating of plus-3 despite the below-average point total. He said he loved that Simmons and Embiid were able to connect for big plays late.

"It wasn't statistically one of his best games," Brown said of Simmons, " … [But] for him to help us get that win on the road, that's a good night."

The win also snapped the Sixers’ recent run of fourth-quarter letdowns. The 76ers trailed by nine with six minutes remaining Tuesday, but they went on a 14-4 run to take a 91-90 lead with 2:17 remaining in regulation. Richaun Holmes completed the run with a three-point play.

Brown said he thought JJ Redick, Simmons and Embiid executed well during that stretch and made note of a three-pointer Redick hit to start the run. 

"To me, that was the tipping point when things started to run," Brown said of the shot.

The coach added that the Sixers will need to cut down on turnovers in order to achieve their goals. The Sixers had a season-high 24, though none came in overtime.

Sixers-Timberwolves observations: Salvaging the road trip

Sixers-Timberwolves observations: Salvaging the road trip

BOX SCORE

MINNEAPOLIS — Joel Embiid scored 28 in his return, and JJ Redick added 26 points as the 76ers defeated Minnesota, 118-112, in overtime on Tuesday.

Embiid, who missed the Sixers’ last two games with back tightness, tied the game with a pair of free throws with 14 seconds remaining in regulation. He finished the night 11 for 12 from the free throw line and 8 for 16 from the field, a stat line that included a three-pointer with 1:39 remaining in overtime.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Sixers (14-13), who had struggled in the fourth quarter in their recent losses. The team trailed, 86-77, with six minutes remaining in regulation Tuesday but went on a 14-4 run that culminated with Richaun Holmes' three-point play with 2:17 to go.

Holmes finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds as he played 33 minutes while filling in for the injured Robert Covington. Dario Saric added 14 points and eight rebounds in 40 minutes.

• Embiid appeared comfortable throughout the night, moving past Minnesota defenders for dunks on several plays while guarding Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng. He fell in pain late in the third quarter under the Sixers' basket but returned early in the fourth and played a total of 39 minutes, a new career high. He also nearly had a triple-double by adding 12 rebounds and eight assists. 

• Backup point guard T.J. McConnell also returned for the Sixers after missing five of the past six games with a shoulder injury. He made his first three shots and also didn't appear to have trouble with movement as he finished with seven points in 26 minutes.

• Redick was just 6 for 15 shooting but scored 16 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. 

• Ben Simmons was also surprisingly quiet for most of the night. He went most of regulation without a point as Minnesota's Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins guarded him. But Simmons scored seven points in the game's final 6:17, including two baskets in the final 1:17, and also added eight assists (see highlights).

• The 76ers struggled with turnovers throughout regulation but committed just one in overtime. They still finished with a season-high 24, many coming on errant cross-floor passes.

• The team mitigated the turnovers by limiting Minnesota to just 41.7 percent shooting in regulation, including just 3 for 24 from three-point range. Butler was the Timberwolves' most effective scorer as he finished with a game-high 38 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter. However, the Timberwolves were 4 for 12 shooting in overtime.

• The Sixers limited Minnesota's ability to drive to the basket throughout the night as they forced the Timberwolves to take lower-percentage two-pointers. The Timberwolves (16-12) had just two turnovers in the first half but finished the game with 10. Wiggins scored 20 and Towns added 17 for Minnesota.

• Veteran forward Trevor Booker scored 12 points on 6 for 8 shooting in his third game with the Sixers since joining the team in last week’s trade with Brooklyn.