76ers

Summer League: Sixers lose despite hot McRae

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Summer League: Sixers lose despite hot McRae

The Sixers' bid to claim both NBA summer league titles came to an end on Thursday night with a 79-68 loss to the Chicago Bulls in Las Vegas.

The loss took place in the second round of the Las Vegas Summer League's tournament portion and dropped the Sixers' record in Sin City to 2-3. The Sixers will finish their stay in Vegas with a consolation game at 10:30 p.m. on Friday against the D-League Select team.

Jordan McRae did his best to deliver the Sixers a win. The second-round pick scored a game-high 25 points on 7 of 8 shooting. McRae was also 10 of 10 at the foul line. His lone miss of the night came on a three-pointer with 41.9 seconds left in the game.

Nerlens Noel didn't fare as well in his return to the lineup. After sitting out the Sixers' previous two games, Noel came back to score 14 points against the Bulls but they came on 13 shots. He did add five rebounds and two assists as he battled a cold and some hard collisions in the loss.

K.J. McDaniels chipped in with 11 points to round out the Sixers who scored in double figures.

The top-seeded Bulls were led by guard Tony Snell and forward Cameron Bairstow, who scored 18 points apiece to run their record to 4-0.

The No. 11 overall pick in last month's NBA draft, Doug McDermott, had an uncharacteristically poor shooting night. McDermott scored 11 points on just 3 of 10 shooting, including 1 of 6 from three-point range. He did grab five boards and block two shots.

As they've done throughout the Las Vegas Summer League, the Sixers fell behind early again on Thursday. They trailed the Bulls by as many as 14 points during the first half before rallying to take a lead in the second quarter behind 14 points in the frame from McRae.

However, with the game tied at 52 and 3:17 remaining in the third, the Bulls went on a 9-0 run to finish the quarter and regain control on their way to victory.

Winless Suns fire head coach Earl Watson

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USA Today Images

Winless Suns fire head coach Earl Watson

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns have fired coach Earl Watson just three games in to the NBA season.

The Suns announced the firing Sunday night after hours of meetings at the team's headquarters.

Assistant coach Jay Triano, a former head coach of the Toronto Raptors, was named interim coach. Triano was an assistant at Portland before coming to Phoenix last year.

Watson was promoted from assistant to interim coach of the Suns after Jeff Hornacek was fired Feb. 1, 2016. The interim tag was removed on April 19 of that year. With an extremely young team, the Suns struggled under Watson. He compiled a 33-85 record. Watson's only full season was 2016-17, when the team went 24-58.

The 38-year-old Watson played collegiately at UCLA and in the NBA for 10 seasons. He often spoke of his long talks with John Wooden, emphasized togetherness and a family atmosphere to nurture the young squad but wins were hard to come by.

And owner Robert Sarver apparently didn't like what he saw. Phoenix is 0-3 and two of the losses were especially ugly. The Suns were blown out 124-76 by the Portland in their season opener Wednesday night, the most one-sided loss in franchise history and the most one-sided season opener for any NBA team.

Phoenix was routed by the Clippers in Los Angeles 130-88 on Saturday night.

"I Dont wanna be here," point guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted Sunday, just as the news of Watson's firing surfaced in an ESPN report. The tweet by Bledsoe, a former Clipper, was followed by one from the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan saying "Come back home bro."

Bledsoe has been rumored in possible trades for months.

Watson's dismissal is the first NBA coaching change in well over a year. Hornacek's hiring by the New York Knicks, which was finalized in June 2016, had been the most recent change -- and the irony there is that Watson got the job in Phoenix with 33 games left in the 2015-16 season, after the Suns fired Hornacek.

Watson was the league's second-youngest active coach behind the Lakers' Luke Walton, and the Suns were tied with the Chicago Bulls as having the youngest opening-night roster in the NBA this season.

"I'd like to see the fight be a little bit more," Watson said after the blowout loss to the Clippers. "Or a lot more, until you know they're just fatigued."

The Suns came into this season with only four losses by 40 or more points in franchise history. They've had two in the first three games of this season. Phoenix has not made the playoffs in seven years, the longest drought in the franchise's 49-year history.

Watson was the 17th Suns coach in the franchise's history.

This was the first NBA season where every coach who started one year had the same job to begin the next.

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

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Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

NEW YORK — The NBA has fined Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for responding to a fan with inappropriate language.

Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA' executive vice president of basketball operations, announced the fine Sunday.

Irving spoke to a fan at halftime of Boston's 102-92 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night (see story). 

The NBA fined Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for language he used toward a fan late in a loss to Memphis on Wednesday night in the season opener.