justin anderson

Sixers stomp all over trap set by rival

Sixers stomp all over trap set by rival

BOX SCORE

T.J. McConnell recorded his first career triple-double to lift the Sixers to a 108-92 win over the Knicks on Monday night. 

The victory, the Sixers’ fourth in a row overall, was also their 10th straight at the Wells Fargo Center. The team remains undefeated in Philadelphia in 2018.

After hitting a game-winner last season vs. New York, McConnell put on another show against the Knicks. He finished with 10 points, 11 assists and, the final piece of the puzzle, 10 rebounds. McConnell became the first Sixer to have a triple-double off the bench. 

The Sixers improved to 29-25 and now sit in seventh in the Eastern Conference. They technically have an eight-game home winning streak because their Jan. 11 loss to the Celtics in London counted as a home game. The Knicks fell to 23-35.

The Sixers will look to wrap up this homestand a perfect 5-0 on Wednesday against the Heat before heading into the All-Star break.

• Justin Anderson suffered a sprained right ankle in the second quarter trying to chase down a Courtney Lee steal. He hit the ground and came up in so much pain that he hobbled off the court into the tunnel on the opposite side from the one that leads to the Sixers’ locker room. X-rays were negative but he did not return to the game. Anderson has been trying to maximize his minutes off the bench. He shot 5 for 7 from the field in the Sixers’ last contest.

• Dario Saric bounced back from a rare rough game on Saturday. Saric had a game-high 24 points on 8 of 12 shooting (4 for 6 from three-point range).

• Saric wasn’t alone with his strong offensive showing. All five Sixers starters scored in double figures: JJ Redick (18 points), Joel Embiid (17 points, six rebounds), Ben Simmons (13 points, six rebounds, six assists, four steals, three blocks) and Robert Covington (13 points, five rebounds).

• Newly-signed Sixer Marco Belinelli suited up in No. 18 just hours after inking his deal. It is likely he will make his debut Wednesday after having time to get better acclimated with the system. Belinelli was pursued by several teams, including the Thunder, Bucks, Raptors and Trail Blazers, after being bought out by the Hawks.

• Covington wasn’t about to share a dunk this time.

• Sixers legend and NBA Hall of Famer, Allen Iverson, rang the ceremonial pregame bell.

• Monday was the Sixers’ Chinese New Year Celebration Game.

Joel Embiid, Justin Anderson recount 'insane' Super Bowl experience

Joel Embiid, Justin Anderson recount 'insane' Super Bowl experience

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid and Justin Anderson tried to soak up everything from inside U.S. Bank Stadium — the game, the crowd, the passionate celebration when the clock ran out and the Eagles were hoisting the trophy. 

The magnitude of the opportunity to experience their city's team winning it all over the Patriots was not lost on the pair of Sixers

"I can't believe I went to the Super Bowl," Anderson said after practice Monday. "Coming from where I come from, Joel was the same way, we were talking about how incredible the moment is. We were trying to take pictures and videos so we could just hold on to them forever."

Anderson and Embiid flew to Minneapolis following the Sixers' loss to the Pacers Saturday night in Indianapolis. The team did not practice Sunday after back-to-back games, making it a geographically ideal scenario.

Embiid wanted to be a part of the crowd as much as he could, so they alternated seats between the stands and a suite. Even though Embiid drew a lot of attention (it's kind of hard for a 7-foot-2 All-Star to blend in, after all), he embraced every part of it. 

"Well, it wasn't exactly being treated like a regular fan because it was kind of crazy," Embiid said. "People following you all over the place, people coming up to you, pushing you, asking for pictures. It was actually insane in that case. But I always think about myself like a regular person. I want to be able to enjoy everything because I'm only 23. I want to be out and about, just seeing the whole world."

While they were at the Super Bowl, they watched celebratory reactions from a distance as fans flooded the streets of Philadelphia. 

"It was insane," Embiid said. "I wish I was in town. I would have been jumping over cars and doing the same thing they were doing. But I saw the videos, it was amazing. It just shows you the passion the fans and this city have. I want to be in that type of situation, too. I was just excited about it all."

Anderson and Embiid took a charter plane back after the game. They landed in Philadelphia around 3 a.m. Monday following some delays on the runway. The Sixers practiced Monday afternoon, where they discussed the victory and what it means for the city and its fans.

"It's just an amazing story of perseverance. It's an amazing story of belief," Brett Brown said. "One of the common threads with it all is our fanbase is very unique in pro sport. To envision what a Wells Fargo arena would look like during the playoffs gets us all going."

How Sixers plan to replace JJ Redick

How Sixers plan to replace JJ Redick

CAMDEN, N.J. — After Sixers’ practice Wednesday, a reporter asked coach Brett Brown, “Are you concerned about the shooting without [JJ Redick] in there?”

Brown responded, “What do you think?”

Clearly, JJ Redick’s left knee injury is a blow for the Sixers (see story). With Redick sidelined, a combination of Jerryd Bayless, Justin Anderson, Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot and possibly the recently acquired James Young will have to fill a huge shooting void. Brown said Bayless will start in Redick’s place.

Brown noted the Sixers' offense won’t change radically, but that the other guards will need to focus on off-ball movement without Redick in the lineup.

“JJ is amongst the league’s elite movers,” Brown said. “We need to move Jerryd more. [Robert Covington] is a little bit ground-bound at times. You’ve all sort of seen our structure enough to know almost what we’re hoping to do. And it’s movement. We don’t have to change anything, we just have to do what we do.

"Historically, [Bayless’] role has been stuck in a corner and spotting up, or loop him up to the top and put him in a rub. We’re trying to do more than that, and I think he can shine in that environment.”

Outside of his shooting, the threat of Redick’s jumper draws defenders away from the lane. His absence may make getting to the basket harder work for Ben Simmons.

“I think everybody just has to step up and fill that role,” Simmons said. “We need scoring. He helps us get a lot of shots by being a great shooter, so we need to work on getting our own shots.”

Redick has made more three-point shots (98) than Bayless, Anderson, and Luwawu-Cabarrot combined (95) this season in 34 fewer attempts. Bayless has shot better as a starter (40.4 percent from three-point range) than when he comes off the bench (35.3 percent).

According to Brown, Bayless’ most productive recent game, on Dec. 30 at Denver, may be a blueprint the team uses moving forward. Bayless scored 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting (2 of 3 from three-point territory) in a 107-102 Sixers’ win. Brown said he made a concerted effort to call plays for Bayless, and that the veteran guard responded by making big shots.

It also seems likely that, without Redick’s 17.3 points per game in the lineup, the Sixers will have to lean more heavily on Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons for scoring. But while those two are always front and center, Redick’s injury means Bayless will shift into the spotlight.