76ers

Source: Sixers claim, then waive Mo Williams

Source: Sixers claim, then waive Mo Williams

Updated: 6:13 p.m.

Mo Williams was barely a Sixer.

The Sixers on Friday claimed the 34-year-old point guard, then waived him, a league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com's Jessica Camerato. The Sixers followed it with the re-signing of guard Chasson Randle to a second 10-day contract.

ESPN's Marc Stein first reported the news of the Sixers' claiming Williams.

Per the report, the Sixers made the claim in order to get $2.2 million closer to the salary floor while preventing the Nuggets from doing so after Denver acquired Williams in a trade with the Hawks. As Derek Bodner of Philly Mag explains, the Sixers will be credited the entire $2.2 million if Williams clears waivers but, because of a loophole in the CBA will actually pay only $1.1 million of the salary, thus saving $1.1 million. (The loophole is resolved in the next CBA, which takes effect after this season.)

If the Sixers don't reach the cap floor ($84.7 million) by season's end, they'll have to distribute the difference between their salary total and the floor to the players on the roster. If Williams clears waivers, the Sixers still will be $5.5 million under the floor.

It's been a whirlwind two weeks for Williams, who was traded from the Cavaliers to the Hawks as part of the Kyle Korver deal. Williams was then shipped to the Nuggets, who then waived him.

Now he's been claimed and waived by the Sixers in the same day.

Williams, a veteran of 13 NBA seasons, last played for 2015-16 championship-winning Cleveland, where he played 41 regular-season contests and averaged 8.2 points and 2.4 assists per game.

Sixers' 2nd-half dominance emblematic of team's growth

Sixers' 2nd-half dominance emblematic of team's growth

Remember when the Sixers regularly stuttered out of the gates in second halves, coughing up leads?

That feels like a long, long time ago.

The ridiculously rapid growth of this team is hard to fathom. It's turning previous weaknesses into strengths, and its second-half performances are a perfect example.

The third quarter was pivotal in the Sixers’ 104-91 win Tuesday night (see observations), as they outscored the Heat 34-20 to take control of the game. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons provided the bulk of the Sixers’ offense in the first half, but that changed in the third quarter. Dario Saric scored eight points in the period, while Robert Covington made a pair of momentum-swinging three-pointers.

In total, out of 10 second-half quarters in the series, the Sixers lost just one — the fourth quarter on Tuesday. 

That second-half dominance is turning into a big part of this team’s identity.

“It’s just the way we play — we play hard and we never let up,” Simmons said. “At the start of the season, we had a few letups where we just weren’t used to it, a few guys playing their first season, a new team. I think we’ve grown a lot.”

Erik Spoelstra experienced an unpleasant feeling of déjà vu during the second half of Game 5.

“In the second half, it felt like the majority of our fourth quarters vs. Philadelphia,” Spoelstra said. “Each of the games — except for Game 2 — they’ve stepped up their defense in the fourth quarter and it was tough to generate good, clean offense or at least getting the ball where we wanted it to go and executing with some level of coherency. You have to credit them.”

While the Sixers are developing at warp speed, this particular trend didn’t just start in the playoffs. As JJ Redick pointed out, the Sixers started taking over in the second half late in the regular season.

“I don’t think this is something we just started doing this series,” Redick said. “If you look at our winning streak, there were a lot of games that were close at halftime and the third and fourth quarters, especially defensively, were just terrific, and that’s what allowed us to have that winning streak.

“So this is something we’ve been doing now for a while. I know earlier in the year we certainly had blown a few double-digits leads in the second half. It’s something we were coached on and worked through as a group, so a lot of credit goes to Brett (Brown) and his staff for that.”

During the Sixers’ current stretch of 20 wins in 21 games, they’ve outscored their opponents in the third quarter by nine or more points 10 times. It’s a staggering reversal of their early-season issues coming out of halftime.

While we’re talking about the Sixers’ growth, we could delve into their newfound ability to take care of the ball (with the glaring exception of Game 4), or the massive improvements in their bench play, or Simmons hitting free throws under pressure.

However, the second-half dominance speaks volumes about the ways this precocious team has grown, and how it continues to develop.

“I think we’ve stayed on to something and we haven’t pivoted out of it,” Brown said. “This is how we want to play offense, this how we want to play defense, this is how we substitute, these are our crunch-time plays. This is just what we do. 

“We’ve been able to just incrementally get better as the season has unfolded. That’s always the thing that makes coaches most proud: the fact that your teams get better. And this team really is getting better. The pieces within the team are getting better and so it all adds up.”

Plenty of Philly celebrities take in Sixers' series-clinching victory

Plenty of Philly celebrities take in Sixers' series-clinching victory

Meek Mill and Kevin Hart sat together courtside (see story), but they weren’t the only Philadelphia notables taking in Game 5 of the Sixers-Heat series at the Wells Fargo Center. 

Take a look at others in the crowd as the Sixers bounced the Heat from the playoffs Tuesday (see game recap)

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie had fun with Hart and Meek Mill. 

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf was in the building.

Corey Clement was joined by fellow Eagles Jalen Mills, Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Derek Barnett and Wendell Smallwood. New York Jets wide receiver and Temple product, Robby Anderson, was also in attendance. 

Former Sixers Jumaine Jones, Nik Stauskas, Marc Iavaroni, Billy Owens and Tim Perry watched the game. The NCAA champion Villanova Wildcats, with NBA-level talents of their own, were honored at half court. 

Boxers Bernard Hopkins, Bryant Jennings and Jessie Hart watched the Sixers throw a knockout punch.

Musical artists Biz Markie, Beanie Sigel, Chill Moody and Lil Dicky also were among the 21,171 sellout crowd.