Sacramento Kings

Sixers pull off yet another stunning collapse

Sixers pull off yet another stunning collapse

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The Sixers’ matchup against the Kings was winnable, even without Joel Embiid. 

However, instead of snapping their skid Tuesday on their homecourt against a sub.-500 opponent, they lost their seventh out of the last eight games and second of the season to the Kings, 101-95.

The Sixers fell to 14-16, while the Kings moved up to 10-20. 

The thing is, the Sixers had this game. They were up by 16 points with 9:07 remaining in the third quarter before being outscored 13-0 by the Kings to start the fourth. 

The Sixers’ struggles continued as they head into the next two games facing the 20-8 Raptors. 

• The Sixers were without Embiid for the second straight game. The team is being cautious with the big man as he deals with back tightness. Even though Embiid usually misses only one of two in a back-to-back set, this situation is not a complete surprise. He played a career-high 49 minutes in the Sixers’ triple-overtime loss to the Thunder last Friday while dealing with the lingering back issue. 

Embiid is day to day and his status for Thursday’s game against the Raptors at home is to be determined. He watched the game from the bench. 

• Thirty-six-year-old Zach Randolph stepped into the time machine with a 27-point performance. Randolph has been in the NBA so long, Ben Simmons was five years old when he made his debut in 2001. The veteran was a solid pickup for the Kings, as he brings experience and gritty determination to the young roster. 

• The Sixers’ offense stalled in the second half. With 10 minutes remaining in the game, T.J. McConnell was the only player to have more than four made field goals. Robert Covington scored a team-high 17 points (2 for 13 from three) and Jerryd Bayless scored 15 off the bench (4 for 8 from three). Simmons attempted just six field goals and still neared a triple-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. 

• The Sixers were down another starter in the second half. JJ Redick was sidelined by right hamstring tightness. Redick started off the game slow (0 for 5 from the field) before knocking down a pair of threes (eight points). 

• Turnovers continue to plague the Sixers. They gave up 21 points off 20 turnovers. They weren’t helped by their shot selection. The Sixers went 7 for 27 from three while being outscored 48 to 32 in the paint. 

• A 2017 lottery pick matchup will have to wait until next season. No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz (shoulder) has been out and No. 5 pick De’Aaron Fox was ruled out for the second half because of a right quadriceps injury. The Kings’ point guard, who worked out for the Sixers hours before Fultz did the same during the pre-draft process, scored only two points and dished one assist in 11 minutes. He also missed the previous game because of right quadriceps contusion. 

• Reported new Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana was in attendance. 

The Kings blame Joel Embiid for loss

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The Kings blame Joel Embiid for loss

The Kings aren't happy with Joel Embiid.

They placed some blame on the Sixers big man for their 23-point loss Thursday night.

How was Embiid at fault for a game he didn't even play?

Well, the Kings felt the wrath of Karl-Anthony Towns.

Let's just say Embiid may have fired up Towns after he embarrassed the Timberwolves big man on Instagram the night prior (see story). In Embiid's defense, Towns was the instigator (see story).

Nonetheless, Towns went off on the Kings for 30 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, five blocks and a plus-22 rating, leading the Timberwolves to a 119-96 win.

"I came to be an assassin tonight, not a basketball player," Towns said after the victory. "I wanted to try to be as active as possible and just disrupt the game as much as possible as well."

Way to go, JoJo.

Sorry, Kings.

Best of NBA: Cavaliers tie franchise record with 13th straight win

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Best of NBA: Cavaliers tie franchise record with 13th straight win

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James drained a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left and finished with 32 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers tied a franchise record with their 13th straight win, 101-95 over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

James, who changed his sneakers three times, also had 11 rebounds and nine assists, helping the Cavs rally from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to remain unbeaten since Nov. 11. His decisive 3-pointer in the final minute was in the face of JaKarr Sampson, who had jawed with James earlier.

Cleveland also won 13 straight in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. The Cavs will try for the team record Friday at Indiana.

This one wasn't easy. The Kings gave the Cavs everything they had, but couldn't contain James in the clutch.

Zach Randolph had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Buddy Hield added 17 points for the Kings. Sampson grabbed 16 rebounds in his first start this season (see full recap).

Durant’s triple-double sparks shorthanded Warriors
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kevin Durant had 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Charlotte Hornets 101-87 on Wednesday night without Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.

It was Durant's first triple-double of the season and his second since joining the Warriors before last season.

Klay Thompson scored seven of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for the Warriors, who have won five straight overall and seven in a row against the Hornets.

Curry will be sidelined for about two weeks with a sprained ankle, while Green is nursing a sore shoulder.

It hardly mattered.

Durant set the tone, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first quarter to help the Warriors build a 26-18 lead. The edge increased to 26 in the second quarter following back-to-back 3-pointers by Nick Young, who had 10 points.

Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 24 points, while Nic Batum added 15 and Dwight Howard 14 (see full recap).

Pelicans win behind Cousins’ monster game
NEW ORLEANS -- DeMarcus Cousins had 40 points, 22 rebounds and four blocks, and the New Orleans Pelicans won for the second time in three games without Anthony Davis, defeating the Denver Nuggets 123-114 on Wednesday night.

Jrue Holiday scored 27 points and E'Twaun Moore had 14 for New Orleans, which shot 53.5 percent (46 of 86).

Gary Harris scored 24 for the short-handed Nuggets, who remained without recently injured frontcourt stalwarts Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap.

Emmanuel Mudiay scored 17 points, while Will Barton and Jamal Murray each scored 15 for the Nuggets, who were as close as 97-94 after Malik Beasley's 3 with 11:25 to go, only to fade down the stretch.

New Orleans went on a decisive 20-3 run during which Cousins scored six points and blocked two shots. It marked the second time this season Cousins had at least 40 points and 20 rebounds in a game (see full recap).