Jahlil Okafor

Sixers avoid another near-disaster with comeback

Sixers avoid another near-disaster with comeback


The Sixers got back on track at the Wells Fargo Center with a 120-116 down-to-the-wire win Friday over the Nets. They had to climb out of a 13-point deficit and play disciplined down the stretch to overcome the Nets, who have proved pesky this season. 

The Sixers moved up to 38-30 with the victory while the Nets fell to 22-48.

• Fans sang “Happy Birthday” to Joel Embiid while he shot free throws and then got creative with a new chant: “E-M-B-I-I-D Embiid” to the tune of “E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles.” Embiid posted 24 points, a career-high 19 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in spite of shooting 6 for 23 from the field. He was a perfect 11 of 11 from the free throw line.

• A timeline for determining Markelle Fultz’s availability still has not been set, Brett Brown said pregame. 

“I think at some point soon a decision is going to have to be made so that we can progress forward,” Brown said. “But sincerely, there is nothing going on right now that you all don’t know that I know.”

When asked if he thinks Fultz will play this season, Brown replied, “I truly don’t know.” 

• Former Sixers Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas returned to the Wells Fargo Center for the first time since being traded to the Nets in December. Okafor was greeted with some boos when he checked in, and the jeers got louder when he touched the ball. Okafor scored 10 points with three boards in 13 minutes.

Okafor said it was “weird” being in the visitors’ locker room and spending the night in a hotel. He actually got lost finding his way through a different arena entrance. 

“Being here where my NBA career basically started, it feels good to be back and see some familiar faces,” he said before the game. 

• Justin Anderson (11 points) got playing time after falling out of the rotation as of late. He dropped nine points in the first quarter off a trio of threes. More importantly, Anderson played tough defense with Embiid on Spencer Dinwiddie with 21 seconds left in regulation to maintain the Sixers’ lead. 

• Ben Simmons neared another triple-double (21 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds), which is becoming a common occurrence. Dario Saric (nine points) failed to score in double digits for only the second time since the beginning of December. 

• D’Angelo Russell, who averaged 24 points in the first two games against the Sixers, scored only eight points (3 for 14 from the field). The Nets were led by 21 points and 10 rebounds from Chester, Pa., native Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. 

• Hall of Famer Allen Iverson stood courtside to watch the game go down to the wire. Check out the whole video to see how he addressed the crowd. 

• Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman was also in attendance. 

What should be fueling Sixers on road trip

What should be fueling Sixers on road trip

Not exactly the way to start a road trip, huh?

The Sixers fumbled their way to 26 turnovers as they blew multiple double-digit leads in a 118-110 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday in the opener of a four-game road stint.

Good thing for the Sixers is there is always another game just around the corner in the NBA. And in their case, each one presents a little extra motivation to get the job done.

At Charlotte (March 6 at 7 p.m.)
If nothing else, the Sixers simply want to get the bad taste out of their mouth from the meltdown in Milwaukee. After taking care of the ball exceptionally well the previous two games, the Sixers’ Achilles heel crept back up against the Bucks.

“We just kept turning the ball over,” Ben Simmons said. “Offensively, we didn’t make any plays, didn’t execute.”

Not to mention, the Sixers didn’t exactly play their best ball in last week’s 110-99 home victory over the Hornets. It took a monster 36-19 fourth quarter for the Sixers to secure the win.

At Miami (March 8 at 7:30 pm.)
Playoff implications are boiling over in this one. The Sixers sit just one game ahead of the Heat in the standings and will be looking to claim the series clincher in the final meeting of the season for the all-important tiebreaker.

Throw in the fact that the Sixers blew a late lead to a vintage Dwyane Wade and the Heat just last week, and the energy should be all the way cranked up for this clash on South Beach.

“That’s the type of loss we’re maybe going to regret because I think if we would have won those two games, we would have had a chance to be third or fourth in the conference,” Joel Embiid said after the 102-101 loss to the Heat on Feb. 27. “We’ve just got to keep staying focused and win some more games.” 

At Brooklyn (March 11 at 7:30 p.m.)
The revenge factor is often overplayed in sports. However, if one of your worst losses of the season came on the road to one of the worst teams in the league, there is certainly a measure of payback.

The Sixers allowed the Nets to shoot 50.6 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from three-point range in a 116-108 loss back on Jan. 31. 

“We forgot how to play defense,” Embiid said after the game.

With Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas able to gloat about winning their first meeting vs. the Sixers after getting traded away, you can bet the squad will want to put an end to that happiness this time around.

Sixers' castoffs get the last laugh in Brooklyn

Sixers' castoffs get the last laugh in Brooklyn


NEW YORK — The Sixers wrapped up their road trip with a 1-3 mark after a 116-108 loss to the Nets at Barclays Center.

On paper, the 29-point, 14-rebound double-double from Joel Embiid combined with 24 points and seven assists from Ben Simmons and 20 points from JJ Redick should have been enough to beat the Nets (19-33).

However, the Sixers (24-24) couldn’t get past the Nets’ guards. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 27 in the starting lineup and D’Angelo Russell tallied 22 off the bench. Center Jarrett Allen rounded out their efforts with 16 points and 12 boards.

The Sixers actually committed only eight turnovers (for 10 Nets’ points), a surprisingly low number in a loss. They have dropped three straight games. 

• Embiid continued his quest to live at the free throw line. He shot 12 for 14. Embiid recorded his 23rd double-double of the season.

• Simmons surpassed his season scoring average (16.6 points) with 18 points in the first half alone.

• Redick returned to the lineup and shot 4 for 10 from the field (3 for 4 from three) and 9 for 10 from the line in the start. He missed the previous seven games because of a bone edema and small cortical crack in the fibular head of his left leg. The backup shooting guard minutes were up for grabs with Redick back in the starting lineup. Jerryd Bayless was cleared to play after missing six games (left wrist), but he was later held out by the medical staff. Brett Brown went with Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (11 minutes), who had started amid the veterans’ injuries. Justin Anderson also played 18 minutes off the bench.

• Robert Covington attempted only three field goals (two made) in 32 minutes. He shot 1 for 1 from three. 

• Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas faced the Sixers for the first time as opponents. Okafor was limited in the first half after picking up three fouls in as many minutes, but he grabbed three rebounds in that time. Okafor finished with eight points and those three boards in 14 minutes. Stauskas posted three points, four rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes off the bench.

• Here’s your pregame look at Markelle Fultz:

• Sixers fans throughout the arena loudly — I mean, loudly — called out Eagles chants when the Nets shot free throws and other random points in the game.

• Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said he considers the Sixers to be “a team that’s really on the rise.” He appreciates the development path of the roster and gives former general manager Sam Hinkie praise for the approach he took to building the squad.

“There should be a management award for him or a management study on what he did,” Atkinson, who previously worked with Hinkie, said before the game. “We can argue you like it, you don’t like it. But I was around him, I really like him as a person and I just think he did a phenomenal job. Thinking long term like that, to have that vision that most of us don’t have, let’s be honest, I don’t think he gets enough credit.”