76ers

Best of NBA: Nerlens Noel stars in 1st start with Mavericks

Best of NBA: Nerlens Noel stars in 1st start with Mavericks

DALLAS -- Seth Curry scored 24 points, Nerlens Noel had 15 points and tied a career high with 17 rebounds in his first start since coming to Dallas in a trade, and the Mavericks beat the Memphis Grizzlies 104-100 on Friday night.

The Mavericks held on despite going scoreless for more than five minutes in the last half of the fourth quarter. The drought ended when Dirk Nowitzki made a free throw after Memphis coach David Fizdale was called for a technical with Dallas leading 94-90 with 46 seconds left.

Mike Conley scored 30 points, and Zach Randolph had 24 points and 10 rebounds. Marc Gasol scored 13, but was just 6 of 18 from the field.

Noel, who was supposed to get his first start in Atlanta but was late for the team plane and came off the bench instead, almost had his second double-double of the season by halftime with 13 points and nine boards (see full recap).

Cavs hit record 25 three-points in win over Hawks
ATLANTA -- Kyrie Irving scored 43 points, LeBron James had 38 and the Cleveland Cavaliers set the NBA regular-season record with 25 3-pointers as they turned back Atlanta's late rally to beat the Hawks 135-130 on Friday night.

After Paul Millsap's baseline jumper over James cut Cleveland's lead to 124-123, Kyle Korver -- who was traded from Atlanta to the Cavaliers on Jan. 7 -- hit the record-breaking 3-pointer to pad the lead.

Cleveland made 25 of 46 3s to break a record that stood less than three months. Houston made 24 treys in a 122-100 win over New Orleans on Dec. 16.

Tim Hardaway Jr. made five of nine 3-pointers and led the Hawks with a career-high 36 points. Millsap had 27 points (see full recap).

Leonard, Spurs take down Pelicans in overtime
NEW ORLEANS -- Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points, Patty Mills hit a pair of pivotal 3s in overtime, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the New Orleans Pelicans 101-98 on Friday night.

LeMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 15 rebounds for San Antonio. The Spurs won their sixth straight while dropping New Orleans to 0-4 with DeMarcus Cousins in the lineup.

Cousins had 19 points and 23 rebounds, but missed a step-back 3-pointer that could have tied it as overtime ended. Anthony Davis had 29 points, and Jrue Holiday 26 for the Pelicans.

Mills finished with 15 points, and Pau Gasol added 13, including a clutch 3 that helped San Antonio overcome a five-point deficit in overtime.

Leonard's steals late in regulation and in overtime also helped the Spurs survive (see full recap).

'Dots don't connect' for Sixers on inbound confusion

'Dots don't connect' for Sixers on inbound confusion

Of all the scenarios that transpired over the Sixers’ triple-overtime loss to the Thunder on Friday, there is one moment that stands out.

Fast-forward to the end of the second overtime. The Sixers had the opportunity to take the final shot after Dario Saric grabbed a defensive rebound. Joel Embiid motioned for a timeout before Saric put the ball on the floor. 

The Sixers huddled and prepared for a half-court play they had practiced before, confident they could execute it with 1.2 seconds on the game clock.

However, as they went to set up, the officials told them the inbound was actually full court. Saric had dribbled the ball before the timeout was called, they were told. That change wiped out the play they had initially planned. 

“They asked us what side of the floor did we want to advance it to, and so we told them,” Brett Brown said. “We drew up a play to try to score. Then we walked out and they said no you can’t advance it, it goes full court. When you look at the tape, you can see Joel and myself calling a timeout with 1.2 seconds. They said Dario dribbled, yet there were still 1.2 seconds. The dots don’t connect.”

The last-second shift in inbound position left the Sixers scrambling. Embiid said the team was “caught off guard.” Ben Simmons considered the call to be “huge.” 

“We weren’t told that we couldn’t progress the ball up the floor until we actually had to run the play,” Simmons said. “That kind of messed us up. We got into a late play, which didn’t convert.” 

The Sixers didn’t connect on their final possession. There’s no guarantee the shot would have gone in, but they would have been prepared to get a good look. 

“[It changed] everything,” Robert Covington said. 

Instead of pulling off a last-second game-winner, the Sixers went into triple overtime. They were edged out by two points, 119-117 (see game recap)

"That kind of like messed up in our minds, but that’s not an excuse," Embiid said. "We shouldn’t have an excuse for losing that game."

Joel Embiid won't back down in his house

Joel Embiid won't back down in his house

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid’s Tour de Trash Talking continued Friday night in the Sixers’ triple-overtime loss to the Thunder.

Two days after an Instagram exchange with friend Karl-Anthony Towns, things got chippier against the Thunder veterans. Embiid swapped words with both Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook. 

Westbrook took exception when Embiid waved goodbye to Steven Adams when the Thunder center fouled out, and the reigning MVP sent a message of his own after the game. 

“He told me to go home,” Embiid said. “And this is my home and I ain’t going nowhere.”

Embiid said he gave the Thunder credit for the 119-117 win (see observations), but took a jab at Westbrook’s individual performance. Even though Westbrook recorded a 27-point, 18-rebound, 15-assist triple-double, he shot just 30 percent in the effort. 

“The dude shot like 10 for 33,” Embiid said. “I wish I would have shot 33 times. I guess we would have had a better chance of actually winning the game.”

Embiid told Westbrook he would see him in Oklahoma City. The Sixers play the Thunder on the road Jan. 28. 

“I’m not about to get into back and forth with him,” Westbrook said, according to The Oklahoman. “I’m not about to give him my energy.”

Before Embiid had words with Westbrook, there was chatter between him and Anthony.

With the Sixers down seven and 2:26 on the clock, Embiid banked in a hook shot as he was fouled by Anthony (see highlights). After the bucket, Embiid shouted “and-one” several times in Anthony’s direction, which led to some jawing between the pair. 

Embiid reiterated he isn’t going to back down, nor is he concerned about these exchanges turning physical. 

“He just said something like, ‘Don’t do this with me,’ or something like that,” Embiid said. “I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re not going to do anything. You fouled me. I had the and-one on you.’ 

“Guys in the league, I can’t remember the last time someone actually threw a punch on somebody. I’m not worried about anybody. I’ve seen out there a lot, all over the place about people talking about people coming back at me. I’m African, so don’t try me.”

Embiid has been involved in trash talking with players around the league, from Towns to Draymond Green, Hassan Whiteside to Andre Drummond. Each time, he emphasizes the exchanges are conversations, not altercations. 

"I’m having fun," Embiid said. "What goes on the court, stays on the court. I don’t think I ever disrespect anybody."