76ers

Celtics coach Brad Stevens believes new Sixers big man Amir Johnson is right mentor

Celtics coach Brad Stevens believes new Sixers big man Amir Johnson is right mentor

LAS VEGAS — The Sixers quickly pursued Amir Johnson at the start of free agency in their hunt for veteran experience. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens believes the Sixers will get leadership and much more. 

“He’s the guy you want with young guys,” Stevens said this week. 

Johnson most recently played for the Celtics for his 11th and 12th NBA seasons. He was a vocal member of a playoff team each year there. His personality became infectious. 

“If you lose, he’s positive and talking about there’s always tomorrow,” Stevens said. “If you win, he’s talking about all the things you need to do to make sure that you continue to get better.”

Johnson worked closely with his younger teammates in Boston to share the experiences he learned coming up in the league on contending Pistons squads. He is ready to impart his wisdom on the Sixers, too. 

“I'm always vocal, I'm always talking, and I got that from Rasheed Wallace of course,” Johnson said. “Me being in my 13th year, I feel like I've got a lot to give. I definitely will lead by example on the floor and have a lot to say to the young guys.”

There are plenty of young guys on the Sixers’ roster. The players that finished last season with the team have an average age of 24.5 years old. 

The 30-year-old Johnson was intrigued by the Sixers' core when he signed a one-year, $11 million deal. Among his new teammates, he looks forward to playing with Joel Embiid, who impressed him when they faced off last season. 

The Sixers are deep with young talent that can greatly benefit from absorbing the knowledge Johnson has to share.

“Amir’s the ultimate positive teammate," Stevens said. "He always brings the right energy, brings the right focus.” 

All-Star sidelined for Sixers' game vs. Bucks

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All-Star sidelined for Sixers' game vs. Bucks

CAMDEN, N.J. -- The first matchup between the oversized point guards will have to wait.

Ben Simmons will not face off against Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is sidelined because of soreness in his right knee, in the Sixers' Saturday evening game against the Bucks. Antetokounmpo is averaging 28.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per game this season. 

That’s not the only absence.

Jerryd Bayless, who had started in place of JJ Redick (leg), is out with a sore left wrist. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot gets the nod at shooting guard.

“It’s another opportunity to show up and make some shots and prove that I can do that,” Luwawu-Cabarrot said at shootaround, also noting he has to play tough defense on Eric Bledsoe (17.7 points per game).

Reigning Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon will also miss the game because of a personal matter, per the Journal Sentinel. Brogdon beat out Joel Embiid and Dario Saric for the award last season. 

Markelle Fultz (right shoulder) remains out. He worked on free throws, driving drills, and knocked down a jumper in the portion of shootaround available to the media.

Raptors continue to take care of business at home

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Raptors continue to take care of business at home

TORONTO -- Kyle Lowry scored nine of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, DeMar DeRozan added 21 and the Toronto Raptors beat San Antonio 86-83 on Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak against the Spurs.

Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 11 rebounds as the Raptors improved to 17-3 at home, the second-best home record in the NBA behind San Antonio's mark of 19-2.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Pau Gasol scored 15 points and Patty Mills had 13 as San Antonio lost for the fourth time in six road games. The Spurs are 11-15 away from home.

It had been more than two years since Toronto last beat San Antonio. The Raptors won 97-94 at home on Dec. 9, 2015.

San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili missed his second straight game because of a sore right thigh. Ginobili returned to Texas after the Spurs won at Brooklyn on Wednesday (see full recap).

Beal, Oubre spark Wizards’ win over Pistons
DETROIT -- Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 26 points each, and the Washington Wizards scored 45 points in the third quarter before holding on for a 122-112 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

The Pistons cut a 20-point second-half deficit to four in the fourth quarter, but John Wall made a big 3-pointer to put the Wizards up 107-100. Oubre added a four-point play a few possessions later to push Washington's lead to nine.

Andre Drummond had 14 points, 21 rebounds and eight assists for the Pistons, who have lost four straight.

Both teams were struggling coming into the game. The Wizards lost by 24 at Charlotte on Wednesday, and they fell behind by 15 in the first quarter at Detroit. It was tied at 46 at halftime, though (see full recap).

Nets edge Heat to snap 5-game home skid
NEW YORK -- DeMarre Carroll scored 26 points, Spencer Dinwiddie had 15 and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Miami Heat 101-95 on Friday night.

Brooklyn snapped a five-game losing skid at Barclays Center and a seven-game home losing streak to the Heat.

Caris LeVert and Joe Harris each added 12 points for the Nets. D'Angelo Russell played 14 minutes and went 0-for-5 from the field for Brooklyn in his first action after missing 32 games following left knee surgery.

Hassan Whiteside had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Goran Dragic scored 17 points for the Heat.

LeVert made an acrobatic layup to give the Nets a 95-91 lead with 57.8 seconds remaining and then made a step-back jumper to ice the game at 97-91 (see full recap).