76ers

Best of NBA: Dirk Nowitzki reaches 30K-point milestone in Mavs' win

Best of NBA: Dirk Nowitzki reaches 30K-point milestone in Mavs' win

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki scored the 20 points he needed for 30,000 in his career in barely more than a quarter, and the Dallas Mavericks celebrated with their second straight easy home win over the Los Angeles Lakers, a 122-111 victory Tuesday night.

The 7-foot German became the sixth NBA player and the first international one to reach the milestone, joining four Hall of Famers and a future one in Kobe Bryant. Nowitzki is one of three to score all 30,000-plus with one team. The others are Karl Malone (Utah) and Bryant (Lakers).

The 38-year-old Nowitzki matched the best first quarter in his 19 seasons by scoring 18 points, and reached the hallowed mark on a 15-foot fadeaway jumper from the baseline over Larry Nance Jr. with 10:58 remaining in the second quarter.

Nowitzki scored all of his 25 points -- one shy of his season high -- in the first half (see full recap).

Blazers overcome Westbrook’s career-high 58 points
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Portland Trail Blazers overcame Russell Westbrook's career-high 58 points to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 126-121 on Tuesday night.

Allen Crabbe scored 23 points, Damian Lillard had 22 and C.J. McCollum 21 for the Trail Blazers, who won their third straight. Portland shot 55 percent from the field.

Westbrook shot 21 of 39, but just 6 of 15 in the fourth quarter. Westbrook entered the game as the league leader in points and plus/minus score in the last five minutes of regulation and overtime.

Westbrook also finished the game with nine assists and made 13 of 16 free throws.

Victor Oladipo scored 16 points and Enes Kanter added 11 for Oklahoma City, which dropped its fourth straight. Oklahoma City lost despite shooting 52 percent (see full recap).

Wizards squeeze past Suns to open road trip
PHOENIX -- Bojan Bogdanovic scored 29 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards opened a five-game western trip with a 131-127 victory over the pesky Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

John Wall added 25 points and 14 assists in a victory that ended the Suns' three-game winning streak, their longest since November 2015.

Eric Bledsoe scored 30 points for the Suns, who erased a 22-point, first-half deficit, were tied at 110 with 5:16 to play and challenged the Wizards in the final two minutes before Wall finally clinched it with two free throws with 6.5 seconds to play.

Phoenix's Jared Dudley was ejected from the game in the first quarter for a head butt to Washington's Jason Smith. The Wizards' Brandon Jennings also was tossed for making "an inappropriate gesture" (see full recap).

Sixers' turnover-filled nightmare comes with silver lining

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AP Images/ USA Today Images

Sixers' turnover-filled nightmare comes with silver lining

Brett Brown sat at the podium with a puzzled look on his face as he stared at the box score.

Sure, he’d likely already been told that the Sixers had a season-high 27 turnovers in their 106-102 Game 4 win over the Miami Heat. But it’s one thing to hear it from someone else and another to see it written down in black and white.

“The fact that you can actually win a playoff game with this volume of turnovers is mind-boggling,” Brown said.

The Sixers’ level of carelessness on Saturday was equally astonishing.

For three quarters, the Sixers resembled the regular-season version of the team we have become accustomed to seeing over the years under Brown. They had the ball stolen on dribble moves and their passes intercepted. They had passes sail out of bounds and committed offensive fouls.

Simply put, the Sixers were tripping over themselves to give the ball back to the Heat.

“The first three periods, I was shocked to look up at the scoreboard and not feel like you’re just down 15, 14, 18 given the way the game went,” Brown said.

“I’m shocked that we won this game. We really didn’t have a right to win this game. I thought that, defensively, in the first three periods, we were a C-minus. I thought that our turnovers were an F.”

While a lot of that had to do with the Sixers’ own sloppiness, the Heat’s level of desperation was certainly a factor.

“Coming into this game this afternoon, you know you’re going to get the Miami Heat’s best,” Brown said. “It’s a culture of winning. They’ve won championships. Spo’s (Erik Spoelstra) a hell of a coach. You knew they were going to be all wound up. Like I said before, you didn’t have to be a mystic to guess what this was going to look like. 

“And they jumped us and we didn’t handle it well. We had multiple turnovers. I thought in Game 3 we responded to the physicality with only 12 and we did some things fundamentally more correct. There were several times in tonight’s game that they got the better of us and this environment got the better of us a little bit.”

Not when it mattered most.

The Sixers committed just three of those 27 turnovers in the fourth quarter as they dominated another final period to finish off the comeback.

And while the Sixers know they will never reach their playoff goals if they continue giving the ball away at such a rapid rate, they were pleased the team could stop the bleeding in crunch time with the game on the line.

“I think we did a great job of coming back, staying poised and playing as a team,” Ben Simmons said. “Going through our structured plays, whatever it is, defensively and offensively.” 

“I feel that we have been trending in a way that the fourth-period execution, the fourth-period mentality — defensively driven — has been our identity,” Brown said. “Then you go to the other side and say, well, we did a pretty good job of not turning the ball over. Three turnovers, by our standards, is an A-plus.”

Why Dwyane Wade thinks Sixers are 'special'

Why Dwyane Wade thinks Sixers are 'special'

MIAMI — For the 13 first rounds Dwyane Wade has played in, the current Sixers-Heat matchup has made a strong impression.

“They’re good,” Wade said. “They’re special. They’re a good group. They put the right team together.”

Sitting at the podium, Wade spent a good amount of time during his press conference praising the team that has put the Heat on the brink of elimination. He’s been on the winning side often, including three championships, so he recognizes a unique team when he sees it. 

“This definitely is one of the best first-round series I’ve ever played in, first-round opponent,” Wade said.

The Sixers have gone up 3-1 on the Heat with a roster that is balanced both positionally and in experience. Seven players finished in double digits Saturday and only veteran JJ Redick had more than 20 points. Ben Simmons, with whom Wade already has a relationship (see story), recorded his first career playoff triple-double (17 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists). He became the youngest player to do so since Wade’s former teammate LeBron James back in 2006. 

"I give a lot of credit to their point guard, their leader, Ben,” Wade said. “He does a great job of getting them settled, getting the ball to his guys, and keep feeding confidence to them.”

Wade described the Sixers as having “an edge.” They will use it to test the Heat Tuesday when the series returns to Philadelphia. Wade encourages his teammates to play with maturity and withstand the Sixers’ runs. The Heat split the first two games at the Wells Fargo Center. 

“They’re going to play with pace, play with speed, play physical,” Wade said. “Obviously they’re going to play with their crowd. It’s going to be a high energy type of game from them … All we’ve got to do is just worry about this one game and giving everything we have for that game. You walk out of that game, you gave everything you had, you can live with whatever result is there at the end.”

Wade, 36, has had vintage moments against the Sixers in this series. He led all players with 28 points off the bench in the Heat’s Game 2 win. On Sunday, he scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter alone. 

Asked about the possibility of this game against the Sixers being his last game in Miami playing for the Heat, Wade said, “I won’t answer that right now. I’ve got another game to play. I’m focused on the next game and trying to win that one.”

What he will answer is questions about his competition. 

"They’re a very good team," Wade said. "I can’t say nothing negative about them at all. So far they’ve been great opponents.”