76ers

Sixers camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Markelle Fultz not changing shot

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Sixers camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Markelle Fultz not changing shot

CAMDEN, N.J. — A video of Markelle Fultz at the free throw line during training camp drew attention because of a noticeable change in form from college. Fultz, who shot 64.9 percent from the line as a freshman at Washington, clarified he does not plan on altering his shot in the NBA.

“My free throw’s going to look the same as in college,” Fultz said Thursday. “I’m just trying to look at different ways to see how the ball can go in the hoop.”

Fultz worked on his offense during his offseason training. The point guard will spend a lot of time playing off the ball when paired with Ben Simmons (see story), who will assume point responsibilities. Fultz averaged 23.2 points (47.6 percent from the field) to lead all freshmen and the entire Pac-12 in scoring. Brett Brown sees Fultz’s talents and doesn’t want him to force changes. 

“His percentages revealed that he’s a more-than-capable shooter,” Brown said. “I think right now him trying to figure out how to not overcomplicate things and maybe make over something that didn’t need to be made over as much as he might of thought is a challenge.” 

There will be plenty of other adjustments for Fultz to make. Among his areas of focus is the middle pick-and-roll. 

“Once you get to the middle of the floor, everything’s open,” Fultz said. “In this game, everyone’s good at the one spot, the two, all guards. Even the bigs, they’re good at using illegal screens that refs don’t see. So you’ve just got to be able to fight through and get through everything.” 

For all the games and practices Fultz will go through, one thing will not change: he still is a teenager competing against players 5, 10, even 15 years older than him who have been in the league since he was a kid. Fultz has been getting a small sample of that from his teammates in practice. 

“He’s 19,” Brown said. “I think there’s a physical side of it that no matter how good his head and his heart is, you get back to reality. Trying to help him navigate that first year from a physical standpoint is a real challenge.”

Korkmaz work to do on D
Brown will split his attention between multiple rookies this season. Furkan Korkmaz has a long path of development ahead of him as he transitions from the international game to the NBA. Brown is placing a heavy emphasis on the defensive end. 

“Trying to get him defensively built, like an attitude and a mindset to try to grow him as a defender,” Brown said. “He can score. He’s got a real sort of interesting body for a basketball player in his position. He’s long, he’s lanky. Years ago I coached Brent Barry and sort of that bouncy pogo-stick, can shoot, can dunk, I see he’s got some real interesting qualities. The defensive side needs work.” 

The Sixers selected Korkmaz with the 26th pick in the 2016 draft. He paid a hefty buyout from Anadolu Efes to play in the NBA this season. Korkmaz’s friend and now teammate Dario Saric offered him advice to make the most of his time with the Sixers. 

“Here, it’s all up to you,” Kormaz said. “The coaches give you opportunity, everybody shows interest in you.” 

Injury notes
Jahlil Okafor (right knee soreness) went through limited parts of 5-on-5 action. Joel Embiid (left knee surgery) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (right knee patellar tendinitis) did not do 5-on-5 work. All three players participated in practice. 

Sixers' opponent planning Super Bowl trip

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Sixers' opponent planning Super Bowl trip

Kyle Lowry has three words when it comes to the Super Bowl.

“Fly Eagles, fly,” he said.

The Philadelphia native is pulling for his hometown team to make it to Minneapolis. Lowry, who attended Cardinal Dougherty High School and Villanova University, was proud of the Eagles’ underdog performance against the Falcons on Sunday. 

“It was like one of those wins where everyone was counting you out, your star is down, and everybody else as a team plays to another level,” Lowry said Monday prior to taking on the Sixers. “Our defense did a great job. Nick Foles had a great night, didn't do anything bad. He had a great game to me.”

Even though the Raptors play at noon in Toronto on Feb. 4, Lowry already is thinking of ways to get to the championship game that night. 

“If they make the Super Bowl, I will be there,” he said.

Lowry, 31, also showed his support for his alma mater while he was in Philadelphia for Monday’s game. He pledged to donate $1 million to Villanova for its renovation project of The Pavilion, which will now include the “Kyle Lowry Men's Basketball Locker Room."  

On Monday evening Lowry was presented with the Native Son Award by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. 

Warriors win in Finals rematch

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Warriors win in Finals rematch

CLEVELAND — Kevin Durant scored 32 points, Stephen Curry added 23 and the Golden State Warriors extended their road winning streak to 13 games with a 118-108 Martin Luther King holiday victory Monday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, their struggling NBA Finals foes.

Durant scored 16 in the third quarter for the defending NBA champions, who haven't lost outside Oracle Arena since Nov. 22.

LeBron James scored 32 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, which had its home winning streak stopped at 13. Isaiah Thomas, getting his first taste of the Warriors-Cavaliers rivalry, had 19 points in a season-high 32 minutes as he works his way back from a hip injury.

It was Golden State's second straight win over the Cavs, who have dropped eight of 10 dating to a loss to the Warriors on Christmas Day. Cleveland was down just 93-91 entering the fourth, but the Cavs missed 17 of 19 shots to open the period, allowing Golden State to throttle away.

The Warriors and Cavs have met in the Finals each of the past three years. There's no guarantee there will be a fourth matchup, and at this point only one of them looks prepared for June (see full recap).

Antetokounmpo posts 27 points, 20 rebounds in Bucks' win
WASHINGTON — Now that he has this basketball thing figured out, Giannis Antetokounmpo showed he wouldn't make a bad long snapper in football, either.

Antetokounmpo hiked the ball through his legs to teammate Khris Middleton for a fast-break dunk and the highlight of his all-around dominant performance as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Washington Wizards 104-95 on Monday. Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds in the Bucks' second road victory against the Wizards in 10 days.

"It's not important," Antetokounmpo said of his 20 rebounds. "I was just in the right spot, and the ball just came into my hands."

The Wizards got 27 points and nine assists from John Wall and 19 points off the bench from Kelly Oubre. But just like on Jan. 6 when these teams last met, Antetokounmpo was the difference in Milwaukee pulling away in a tight game late (see full recap).

Porzingis, Beasley help Knicks beat Nets
NEW YORK — Though it hardly appeared like it with thousands of blue-and-orange-dressed fans standing and screaming for them, this was a road game for the New York Knicks.

"It feels like we're playing at home, so it was a good atmosphere for us," Kristaps Porzingis said.

It gets harder from here.

Porzingis had 26 points and nine rebounds, Michael Beasley added 23 points and 10 boards, and the Knicks opened their longest road trip in nearly 30 years by beating the Brooklyn Nets 119-104 on Monday (see full recap).

Schroder leads Hawks over Spurs
ATLANTA — Dennis Schroder loves taking charge with the outcome uncertain in the closing seconds.

It means even more when he can push the Atlanta Hawks to a rare victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

"I'm glad we got the win, first off," Schroder said. "I hit my shots in crunch time. Dewayne Dedmon set great screens and got me open. I just shot with confidence, so it feels great."

Schroder scored 26 points, Ersan Ilyasova added 20 and the Hawks held off the Spurs in the closing seconds to win 102-99 on Monday.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 11 rebounds for San Antonio, which lost guard Manu Ginobli to a right thigh contusion in the first quarter and played without Kawhi Leonard as the star forward comes back slowly from injuries (see full recap).