76ers

Okafor, Stauskas debut for Nets in ugly loss

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Okafor, Stauskas debut for Nets in ugly loss

TORONTO -- Kyle Lowry had his 11th career triple-double, DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points and the Toronto Raptors won their ninth straight meeting with Brooklyn by routing the Nets 120-87 on Friday night.

Serge Ibaka scored 18 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 as Toronto won its eighth consecutive home game and improved to 10-1 at Air Canada Centre.

It was the second triple-double of the season for Lowry, who finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Lowry's previous triple-double came against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 27.

Nik Stauskas scored 22 points in his Brooklyn debut and Isaiah Whitehead had 13 for the Nets in their most lopsided defeat of the season. Brooklyn's previous worst loss was a 107-86 blowout at New York on Oct. 27. The Nets lost by more than 14 points for the second time.

Norman Powell and Jakob Poeltl each scored 11 points for the Raptors, who played without forward C.J. Miles (sore left shoulder).

Nets guard Allen Crabbe (sore left knee) and forward DeMarre Carroll (rest) both got the night off. Brooklyn was playing the second game of a back-to-back, and its third in four days.

With Carroll and Crabbe unavailable, Brooklyn's recently acquired duo of Jahlil Okafor and Stauskas made their Nets debuts. Both arrived in a Dec. 8 trade with Philadelphia (see full recap).

Paul, Rockets rout Spurs for 12th straight win
HOUSTON -- Chris Paul had 28 points, eight assists and seven steals to lead the Houston Rockets to their 12th straight victory, a 124-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

Paul became the first player in NBA history to post 28 points, eight assists and seven steals in a game against the Spurs. In the past 10 years, that stat line has been achieved just 10 times -- Paul has done it six of those times. The Rockets are unbeaten when he plays this season.

Paul's dazzling performance came on a night James Harden had one of his worst 3-point shooting nights of the season, making 6 of 18 from the field, including 2 of 11 from 3. Harden had 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists, scoring half his points on 14-of-16 shooting from the free-throw line.

The Rockets are on the fourth-longest win streak in franchise history and the longest since a franchise-best 22 straight in the 2007-08 season.

All Rockets starters and reserve Eric Gordon had scored in double figures by the end of the third quarter. Clint Capela had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Gordon scored 14 points, Ryan Anderson had 12, and Trevor Ariza added 11 (see full recap).

Gobert, Favors hurt at Jazz still beat Celtics
BOSTON -- Ricky Rubio had 22 points, Donovan Mitchell added 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and the Utah Jazz beat the Boston Celtics 107-95 on Friday night.

Jonas Jerebko and Rodney Hood also finished with 17 points for the Jazz, who snapped a four-game losing streak. It was Utah's first victory in Boston since 2008, a span of nine games.

But the win came at a cost.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert left the game early in the first quarter with a left knee injury after teammate Derrick Favors fell backward into his leg. Gobert was able to walk off the court on his own power, but went straight to the locker room and did not return.

The second quarter brought more injuries. First, Boston's Daniel Theis left with a facial injury. Later, Jaylen Brown of the Celtics caught Favors with an incidental elbow, leaving him bleeding from his left eye and Brown from his elbow. Favors received six stitches and did not return.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 33 points. Al Horford added 21 points and seven assists (see full recap).

Exhaustion catches up to Sixers in 3OT classic

Exhaustion catches up to Sixers in 3OT classic

BOX SCORE

There’s free basketball, and then there’s triple overtime.

The Sixers lost in triple (count it, one, two, three) overtime to the Thunder, 119-117. Patrick Patterson blocked JJ Redick’s attempt at a game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds to seal the win Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Joel Embiid reached his goal of playing 48 minutes, albeit after regulation. Ben Simmons and Redick each clocked over 50. 

The Sixers played beyond regulation for the second straight game. The last time they reached triple overtime was Nov. 20, 1992, against the Heat. 

• So what exactly can Embiid do in 48 minutes? Well, 34 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two monster blocks. Embiid fell hard twice in the third quarter but stayed in the game in spite of his recent back injury. He missed last Sunday’s game because of back tightness. Embiid got in the mix with Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams throughout the game. He waved goodbye when Adams fouled out.

• Russell Westbrook recorded his 10th triple-double of the season and 89th of his career with 27 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists in 52 minutes. Westbrook shot 0 for 7 in the fourth as the Sixers closed out regulation on an 11-0 run. He scored six of the Thunder’s eight points in triple overtime. Westbrook’s biggest highlight of the game, from a Sixers fan’s perspective, happened when he missed a pair of free throws in the third. An opponent going 0 for 2 from the line means everyone in attendance gets a free Wendy’s Frosty. 

• Just like in Tuesday’s game, Simmons was quiet through three quarters. However, he made shots when they counted, including a game-tying dunk from Embiid (his assist partner against the Timberwolves) with 53.1 seconds to go. Simmons closed in on a triple-double with 12 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds (see highlights).

• Anthony (24 points) turned back the clock the night before his return to Madison Square Garden. Anthony, who isn’t hesitant to throw up 20 shot attempts (and imagine how many he would have gone for in triple OT with the Knicks), was an effective 11 for 17 from the field in 47 minutes. He is averaging 6.5 field goals made per game in his first season with the Thunder. 

• Trevor Booker suffered a sprained left ankle in the third and did not return to the game. X-rays came back negative, so it’s a wait-and-see situation as to whether the newly acquired reserve misses any time. 

• Robert Covington’s shooting performance in regulation was cold like the weather outside. He shot 4 for 21 from the field (3 for 15 from three) in his first game since taking a nasty fall on his back last Saturday in Cleveland. 

Have to wonder how much he was impacted by the snow delays. Covington’s commute took more than twice as long and he arrived to the arena about an hour before game time. Players are very routine and Covington didn't get to warm up for as long he as he normally does. This, of course, is not an excuse. But this isn’t the first time a player has had an off night after being delayed. Covington ended up with an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double. 

Sixers thankful to have Embiid tonight vs. reigning MVP

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Sixers thankful to have Embiid tonight vs. reigning MVP

Updated 5:28 p.m.

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid will play tonight as the Sixers need all hands on deck to defend Russell Westbrook.

The big man's status was uncertain leading up to the game because of back tightness. Embiid missed Sunday's game against the Pelicans with the issue but played a career-high 39 minutes on Tuesday in the Sixers' overtime win against the Timberwolves. 

Embiid was on the court after shootaround draining threes barefoot. He commonly puts up shots without shoes.

The Sixers will require a total team effort against Westbrook. They will have their top perimeter defender Robert Covington back in the lineup after he missed the last two games with a lower back contusion.

Brett Brown will try different looks on Westbrook, but one thing is already known: There's no clear-cut formula to contain the reigning MVP. 

"Russell Westbrook demands a team to guard him," Brett Brown said Thursday. "He comes at you with such cocky aggression. How about the athlete that we're seeing and the mentality of that athlete? It is bizarre to me. That is a fierce, competitive person that just doesn't seem to get tired ... He's amazing to me. He really is amazing to me." 

Westbrook is averaging 22.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.9 assists per game this season. All those stats don't really project much considering he's capable of going off for 30, 40 points any given night. He scored 30-plus points in three of his last five games. 

Even though the Thunder are below .500 (13-14), the Sixers are not ignoring the offseason additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Veteran scorers cannot be overlooked, regardless of a team's record heading into the game. 

"[Westbrook] is a special player in our league and he's going to be tough to contain one-on-one so it's going to be a group effort tonight," T.J. McConnell said. "Even with the other two, Carmelo and Paul George, it takes a team and following your principles and playing hard. That's all you can really do." 

• The Sixers will wear their red Statement Edition uniforms tonight for the first time. The jerseys were designed to reflect the history of the franchise and the city of Philadelphia. "Sixers" is written in cursive for the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

• The Sixers are unveiling a sculpture of Maurice Cheeks in front of their training complex in Camden. Cheeks is now an assistant coach for the Thunder. The point guard was a member of the 1983 championship team and earned four All-Star selections with the Sixers. Cheeks' sculpture will join those of Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham already on "76ers Legends Walk."