Bryan Colangelo

Look out, East — Sixers have new 'firepower'

Look out, East — Sixers have new 'firepower'

Marco Belinelli has built a reputation during his career of needing to be watched with a close eye.

On Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center, his skills were on full display during the Sixers' unbelievable 104-102 comeback over the Heat (see observations).

"What a great introduction to the city for him," head coach Brett Brown said. "That's why we brought him in."

The Sixers have lacked two things during the first half of the season: perimeter shooting and bench scoring. Belinelli provided both Wednesday, scoring 13 of his 17 points during the Sixers' second-half comeback. He shot 7 of 12 from the field and hit on 3 of his 5 threes in 28 minutes off the bench.

The Sixers had a need and president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo filled it. Not with a trade, but by picking up the 11-year veteran shooting guard after he had been bought out by the fledgling Atlanta Hawks.

On Wednesday, Belinelli made Colangelo look like a genius.

"I think the firepower that we needed from somebody was provided by him," Brown said. "I give tremendous credit to Bryan Colangelo for making this happen. We gave up no assets to bring him in and we bring in somebody that can change a game like that. Bryan deserves a lot of credit."

Before spending the early portion of this season with the 18-40 Hawks, Belinelli toiled away on a 36-46 Charlotte team last season and a 33-49 Kings team the year before. At the All-Star break, the Sixers already have 30 wins and are right in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race.

"I wanted to be on this team so bad," Belinelli said. "Just play with guys who go on the court and try to be better, try to play together and they want to win so bad and that's one thing I've been missing the last couple years, so I'm really happy."

With the Sixers trailing by 23 at the half and with no Joel Embiid on the floor (see story), it was not what Belinelli had signed up for. But thanks in large part to the firepower he provided, the Sixers outscored the Heat, 65-40, in the second half to secure a perfect 5-0 homestand (see story).

The atmosphere during the comeback was electric.

And Belinelli felt it.

"I need that," Belinelli said. "The last couple years — Sacramento, Charlotte and Atlanta — it's not easy to go out on the court and win games with the young guys. Just to be able to be a part of this team, that's what I need." 

And if his performance Wednesday wasn't enough to endear him to Sixers fans, this should only help:

"I want to win so bad and I really trust this process," Belinelli said. "That's the truth."

Sixers officially sign Marco Belinelli

Sixers officially sign Marco Belinelli

Brett Brown has watched 107 different players check into a game for him as head coach of the Sixers.

One more newcomer can’t hurt.

The Sixers are hoping for a boost to their bench after officially signing veteran guard Marco Belinelli on Monday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Belinelli cleared waivers after reaching a buyout agreement with the Atlanta Hawks on Friday over the $6.6 million he was owed in the final year of his contract. He will wear No. 18 and be available for tonight's game against the Knicks, but Brown said pregame that he does not plan to use him.

So, why the Sixers for Belinelli?

"Because I trust the process," he said Monday. "I think I was lucky to watch a couple games of other teams, Philly, too. I think [the Sixers] play really well, play together on offense and defense. I really trust this kind of thing. Opportunity to help this team make a run for the playoffs. It’s going to be good for me, so I’m really happy."

The 11th-year veteran averaged 11.4 points per game on 41.1 percent shooting from the field and 37.2 percent from three-point range with the Hawks this season. For his career, Belinelli has averaged 9.8 points a night.

Those numbers may not seem eye-popping, but they will be a welcomed sight for a Sixers team that didn’t make a move at last week’s trade deadline. That’s because the Sixers’ reserves rank near the bottom of the NBA in several offensive categories, including points per game (26th), field goals made (26th), three-pointers made (29th) and three-point percentage (29th).

"It can help a lot. We can have another shooter coming off of that unit to allow us to space the floor even more than what we already do," Robert Covington said Monday. "With the rotations, teams have got to sit up here and play us just as hard as they've got to play the first unit. Can't really sit back and kind of sag the way a lot of teams do at times. Now with Marco, he's going to space the floor and then it's just like another JJ (Redick). Teams are going to run him offline and then it's going to help put them in scramble mode."

JJ Redick calls attention to Markelle Fultz's shot 'a little obsessive'

JJ Redick calls attention to Markelle Fultz's shot 'a little obsessive'

Have you seen the latest video of Markelle Fultz taking a shot at practice or during warmups prior to a Sixers game?

There's a good chance you have. That seems to be a very frequent topic of discussion among Sixers circles and not everyone is happy about it.

What can you really make from video of a guy taking one or two shots in who-knows-what kind of circumstance? Tough to say.

JJ Redick, for one, wants the media to relax a little bit with all of it.

“It’s annoying,” Redick said at shootaround on Friday. “The guy is 19. He’s working his ass off. I understand fans want to see his progress. This is maybe going to be a longer process than we all hoped for. And it may not be, he may be back on the court soon, I don’t know. That’s obviously not my thing.”

“I don’t get the coming in here every day to watch him shoot pull-up jumpers. That’s a little obsessive.”

The obsession from Sixers fans and the media over Fultz's shot and status stems in part to the lack of clarity around it all from the team.

The latest update on Friday didn’t settle any of that.

"There's always a chance that he's going to be out there soon, and there's a chance that he's not going to play this year," Bryan Colangelo said Friday. "I can't answer that question because we don't know the answer to that."

Until we actually know an answer to those questions, it's hard to imagine the interest in how Fultz looks playing basketball to decrease.