76ers

Super amount of pressure now on young Sixers

Super amount of pressure now on young Sixers

BOX SCORE

As the Eagles gear up for a Super Bowl parade, the Sixers want to be riding down Broad Street one day, too.

“Them winning has been huge for the city and for us,” Ben Simmons said. “It motivates us to get there and bring championships here, which is really exciting.”

The Wells Fargo Center filled with the Eagles’ fight song and “E-A-G-L-E-S” chants throughout the arena on Tuesday (see video) as members of the offensive line rang the pregame ceremonial bell.

The Sixers kept the momentum going with a 115-102 victory over the Wizards and improved to 26-25 (see observations).

“Since they won, I feel like it kind of puts pressure on us,” Joel Embiid said. “We’re young, it’s going to come, we’ve just got to keep it working together. But it’s great. We knew that the atmosphere was going to be amazing, so we wanted to come out and play up to the competition and give our all.”

The Sixers are scheduled to practice the day of the Eagles’ parade. If that changes, some are considering being part of the action. Embiid, who attended the Super Bowl in Minneapolis, may be part of the crowd.

“If we don’t [have practice], you never know with me,” Embiid said. “It depends on how I feel. They told me that it’s going to be crazy, so I might stay at home. But you never know. I make decisions usually five minutes before I’ve got to do something. So if we don’t, I’m going to go out there in the streets, jumping all over the place with the fans.”

Simmons lives near the parade route. After seeing the postgame celebration on Sunday, he doesn’t expect to be able to leave his house Thursday afternoon.

“Seeing how passionate they (the fans) are, I don’t know if I agree with tearing the city down, but that was insane,” Simmons said. “It just shows you how much they love the team and love the city.”

The Sixers know championships don’t happen overnight. Their goal is to build a foundation for a winning team this season that also can contend for another title for Philadelphia. In the meantime, they can envision what purely making the postseason would mean.

“You feel the city,” Brett Brown said. “We want that. We want to have a playoff game here.”

Former Sixers guard named HOF finalist

usa-maurice-cheeks.jpg
USA Today Images

Former Sixers guard named HOF finalist

Former Sixers player and head coach Maurice Cheeks on Saturday was named a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Other candidates include Grant Hill, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and former Sixers Chris Webber.

Cheeks, a four-time All-Star point guard and member of the 1982-83 championship team, spent 10 seasons with the Sixers before stints with the San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks and New Jersey Nets. He averaged 12.2 points, 7.3 assists and 2.3 steals a night in 853 career games. Cheeks ranks in the top-five in NBA history in both assists (7,392) and steals (2,310). He was also voted to the NBA All-Defensive team five times.

Currently an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Cheeks was the Sixers head coach from 2005-2008, but was fired after a slow start to the 2008-09 season. He was also the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons. He has a 305-315 career record and has made the postseason three times in nine seasons.

Sixers show they're ready to take over the world

Sixers show they're ready to take over the world

LOS ANGELES — The Sixers made their mark among the NBA’s top young talent on a global scale.

Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Ben Simmons (Australia) and Dario Saric (Croatia) all started for Team World Friday in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars game. They helped kick off All-Star weekend with a 155-124 victory over Team USA. 

Simmons recorded a double-double, which is becoming clockwork for the point guard (22 in the regular season, six triple-doubles). He posted 11 points off a perfect 5 for 5 from the field and 1 for 1 from the line. Simmons added 13 assists, six boards and four steals. 

This game was, in a way, a double statement for Simmons. It was an an opportunity to make a case for Rookie of the Year, with fellow contender Donovan Mitchell competing on Team USA. Mitchell notched seven points (3 for 10 from the field, 1 for 6 from three), seven assists, two rebounds, five steals and two blocks.

The Rising Stars contest also was a chance for Simmons to start an early bid for the 2019 All-Star team. He was popular among the fan votes but was not selected as one of four replacements required because of injuries. 

Simmons projects he will be playing in the All-Star Game “hopefully next year.” When it came down to why he was not on this season’s list, Simmons replied, “I think just votes.” 

Saric continued his offensive momentum with 18 points, including 4 for 7 shooting from three. He has scored in double digits in his last 35 games leading into the All-Star break. Saric also grabbed three rebounds and dished five assists. 

“I’ve always got the wish or dream in my life one day to be part of something big like this, even if it’s the Rising Stars game,” Saric said of participating in All-Star weekend. “I think it makes my family proud, my friends from my hometown, or all the people who were around me during my [growth as] a basketball player.”

Embiid logged the least playing time of the Sixers’ trio as he prepares to compete in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge Saturday and start in the All-Star Game Sunday. He missed the Sixers’ last game on Wednesday because of right ankle soreness. Embiid scored five points and two rebounds in less than nine minutes. 

“On Sunday, I expect to go harder,” Embiid said (see story). “I’m going for that MVP. Guys better make sure they find me because I’m looking to have a good game.”

Not listed on the box score: Embiid and Simmons going 2 for 2 as roving reporters. Check out their journalistic skills when they got the mic Friday to interview each other (see video).