76ers

Turner's buzzer-beater gives Sixers win over C's

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Turner's buzzer-beater gives Sixers win over C's

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BOSTON -- Evan Turner had just missed a critical free throw that would have tied the Sixers’ matchup against the Boston Celtics in the final minute.

His body language didn’t seem to suggest disappointment but rather a desire to get another opportunity.

Michael Carter-Williams grabbed a rebound with 10.7 seconds remaining and dribbled up the court before handing the ball over to Turner. That’s when the swingman drove hard to the lane and put in a floater at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 95-94 win.

“Mike got the rebound and was dribbling up past half court,” Turner said. “I saw him kind of fumble and I said I have to get this ball.”

With the ball in his hands, Turner knew exactly what to do.

“I went to my same move that I have been doing since I was eight years old,” Turner said. “When I saw I lost him and then he bumped me, I thought at worst I am going to get a foul called. But I put the floater up and it felt good and we took it from there.”

Turner’s bucket snapped a three-game losing skid for the Sixers and pushed their record to 15-31. He finished the game with 16 points on 6-for-17 shooting to go with six rebounds and eight assists.

While things were unfolding in the final seconds, Sixers head coach Brett Brown thought about calling a timeout. However, he felt that letting his team operate in the flow of the game would be the best bet.

“It is one of the most difficult decisions because everything seems in be in slow motion,” Brown said. “Do you call a timeout? Don’t you call a timeout? I have learned through the ages that the busted play, the broken play, the random play is probably as good an environment that you are going to get often.”

No matter the decision, Brown knew Turner wanted a chance at redemption for the missed free throw.

“You could see that he wanted the ball down the end,” Brown said of Turner. “He was trying to be physical with some of the smaller players and he did.”

But when Carter-Williams came down with the rebound and brought the ball up the floor, Brown thought his rookie point guard -- playing before a couple hundred family and friends from nearby Hamilton, Mass. -- would take the last shot.

“I was kind of surprised Michael gave it up,” Brown said. “I thought Michael was going to try and win the day, but he gave it up, to his credit. I thought we did an excellent job of passing the ball.”

Carter-Williams had seven assists in his Garden homecoming, but like Turner, had trouble finishing. The rookie shot 4 for 14 for 10 points, including 2 for 5 from the foul line.

Missed free throws were almost the Sixers’ undoing. They missed 11 foul shots, going 14 for 25 from the line, including 4 for 10 during the fourth quarter.

However, in handing the ball off, Carter-Williams put Turner, the team’s best foul shooter, in position to make something happen.

“It was done in the flow of the game,” Carter-Williams said. “If I had come out and was feeling really good and my shot had been falling and I was finishing layups, then maybe I would have thought about taking the shot.”

It all worked out in the end. Turner hit his second buzzer-beater of the season and the Sixers overcame the missed free throws and a sizable mismatch on the boards (Boston outrebounded the Sixers, 59-40) with sound team play.

The Sixers got 26 assists on 37 field goals and committed a season-low 10 turnovers, with just two during the fourth quarter.

“The game had ups and downs,” Carter-Williams said. “I wasn’t finishing the ball and really it wasn’t my day. I just wanted to get the rebound because that is the biggest thing, us getting the rebound and a chance to get a shot.

“And at the end of the day it is all about us getting the win and I was giving us the best chance to win.”

It was an improbable win at that.

“Really when you look at the numbers 14 for 25 (free throws), we got pounded on the boards -- they beasted us in the second half. They had 18 offensive rebounds,” Brown said. “If it weren’t for holding them to 37 percent shooting, really I feel lucky to come out of there with a win, but that was what we did and we will take it.”

The Sixers, now a game ahead of the last-place Celtics in the Atlantic Division, will look to make it two in a row on Friday night when they host the Atlanta Hawks.

With Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons set to debut, John Wall and Bradley Beal recall their early days

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With Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons set to debut, John Wall and Bradley Beal recall their early days

The Sixers will have two No. 1 overall picks make their NBA debuts on Wednesday night in Markelle Fultz (2017) and Ben Simmons (2016). They are in for a challenge with the Wizards, one of the best teams in basketball, and with guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Wall and Beal know that challenge well. They were both top draft picks in their own right, Wall the first pick in 2010 and Beal the third pick in 2012. They can recall in specifics their first games in the NBA and how humbling they were.

"My first game, I was going against Dwight Howard. It was fun," Wall said. "There was a lot of pressure. There were a lot of people talking."

It's often said that the point guard position is as deep as it's ever been nowadays. The last three MVP awards have gone to point guards, for instance.

There were some good ones back in 2010, too.

"I remember in a five-game span I played like [Rajon] Rondo, Derrick Rose here and then I went out west and played Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Russell [Westbrook]," Wall said. "I don't think it's gotten any harder than it was back then in 2010 with those five guys. You kind of understand what those guys are about when you get to see it firsthand and play against them."

Beal vividly remembers going up against the LeBron James-led Miami Heat as a 19-year-old. It wasn't easy.

"It was the Heat when they had [Dwyane Wade] and LeBron on the same team. That's when D-Wade was electrifying. He still had his quickness. He was strong as I don't know what and I was a baby at that time," he said.

"For me, it was like I was in awe because those are the guys I grew up watching and I was a fan of. Now I'm playing against them and I can't be a fan of them. It was amazing to play against them, but also an eye-opener like, I need to get better."

Now it's Fultz and Simmons' turn to see what matching up with NBA superstars is like and don't expect Wall or Beal to take it easy on them.

"I'm a competitive person, so I'm not going to back down from any challenge," Wall said.

Joel Embiid to start Sixers' season opener, but how much will he play?

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Joel Embiid to start Sixers' season opener, but how much will he play?

WASHINGTON — The first starting lineup of the Sixers' 2017-18 season will be Ben Simmons, Jerryd Bayless, JJ Redick, Robert Covington and Joel Embiid.

Brown is sticking with the group that closed out preseason competition. That group has a balance of veterans and young talent, including Simmons making his NBA debut after missing all of last season with a foot injury.

"It helps a lot (starting together in the preseason) because you're learning guys and how they move and how they play," Simmons said. "I think we have a pretty good connection going into tonight's game and it's only going to get better."

Embiid will be under a minutes restriction but Brown does not have a definitive number. The big man previously said he expected to play 16 minutes. Embiid was the last one to leave the court at the conclusion of shootaround. 

"There's a range that we'll work with," Brown said. "We're going to feel it together. We'll play Joel within some parameters and go from that base." 

Markelle Fultz also will make his NBA debut. The No. 1 pick, who has battled right knee and shoulder soreness, will come off the bench in front of his hometown crowd. 

"I'm excited," Fultz said. "It's anything you can wish for."