kemba walker

Sixers eventually swat away pesky bugs

Sixers eventually swat away pesky bugs


The Sixers are quickly learning that challenges come in all variations during an NBA playoff chase.

One night after knocking off the reigning Eastern Conference champs, the Sixers returned home for a 110-99 comeback over the pesky Charlotte Hornets.

The Sixers outscored the Hornets 36-19 in the fourth quarter to secure the win. The victory helped the Sixers improve to 34-27 overall and run their win streak at the Wells Fargo Center to 13 in a row.

The loss dropped the Hornets to 28-35.

• Joel Embiid looked every bit like a player taking part in just his third career back-to-back set in the early going. He lumbered up and down the court and settled for one jump shot after another. That all changed after halftime as Embiid took over. He finished the night with 23 points (8 of 19 shooting from the field, 1 of 4 from three), 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

• Embiid got plenty of help with four other Sixers scoring in double figures — Ersan Ilyasova (18 points, four rebounds, three assists), JJ Redick (18 points, two rebounds, two assists), Robert Covington (16 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals) and Ben Simmons (15 points, eight rebounds, six assists).

• The Sixers kept their miscues in check again on Friday. After committing just 10 turnovers against the Cavaliers, the Sixers followed it up with only 12 against the Hornets.

• Kemba Walker never gets mentioned in the discussion of players that you would pay money to see, but he’s box office. The guard from the Bronx has that New York City bounce to his game and is lightning quick. He sliced up the Sixers’ defense early and often on his way to 31 points on 11 for 21 shooting.

• In his first home game as a Sixer since last Feb. 11, Ilyasova had his fingerprints all over the victory. He scored his 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field and 2 of 4 from long range. Plus, he attempted to take several charges with his lone one coming during a clutch moment in the final minutes.

• Embiid made a mockery of his counterpart on the other side in Dwight Howard. The 13-year veteran finished with six points and five rebounds in 25 minutes. More importantly, he committed five fouls as he fell for just about every Embiid rip-through shooting motion.

• For a second straight night in a Sixers game, things got testy toward the end. This time, Hornets head coach Steve Clifford was riding the officials in the final seconds before he received a technical foul and was ejected.

• Up next: The Sixers have a day off before a road matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday (8 p.m./NBCSP) that is crucial to the Eastern Conference standings.

Ben Simmons snubbed for All-Star Game again

Ben Simmons snubbed for All-Star Game again

It happened again.

For the fourth time, the NBA named an All-Star Game replacement for an injured member of Team Lebron, and for the fourth time, his name was not Ben Simmons. 

Comissioner Adam Silver named Hornets guard Kemba Walker to replace Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks big man is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Joel Embiid, who recently said he "hopes they don't do the same b-------" with Simmons (see video above), won't be happy with the decision. 

Previously, Simmons was passed over in favor of Paul George (who replaced DeMarcus Cousins), Andre Drummond (in for John Wall) and Goran Dragic (in for Kevin Love).

Out of the four players named over Simmons, Dragic has the worst credentials. Dragic is averaging 17.8 points and 4.8 assists per game, with a PER of 16.48 for the 29-26 Heat. 

Walker, also an All-Star last season, is posting 22.6 points and 5.8 assists per game. The Hornets are 23-30, 10th in the Eastern Conference, while the Sixers currently hold the conference's final playoff spot at 26-25.

Will Kevin Love's injury open All-Star spot for Ben Simmons?

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Will Kevin Love's injury open All-Star spot for Ben Simmons?

With Kevin Love expected to miss six to eight weeks after breaking his hand Tuesday, another All-Star roster spot is open.

Could it go to Ben Simmons? We'll likely find out from commissioner Adam Silver later today.

Simmons is one of a handful of worthy candidates to replace Love. Andre Drummond is no longer on that list after replacing the injured John Wall.

Simmons' main competition for that final All-Star roster spot appears to be Heat point guard Goran Dragic and Hornets PG Kemba Walker.

Lou Williams is another consideration, but it's more likely that Love's roster spot is filled by someone from the Eastern Conference.

So let's compare the numbers of Simmons, Dragic and Walker.

Simmons: 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.9 blocks, 52% FG, 56% FT, zero made threes

Dragic: 17.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 44% FG, 76% FT, 1.5 made threes per game

Walker: 22.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 42% FG, 84% FT, 2.6 made threes per game

Simmons has the edge in rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and field goal percentage.

Another advantage he may have over the other two is that, positionally, he'd make more sense as a replacement for Love. (In that regard, Kristaps Porzingis is also a consideration, averaging 23.3 points and 6.7 rebounds for the 23-28 Knicks.)

Of course, stats aren't the only consideration. Team records also matter.

Miami is 29-21, fourth in the East and without an All-Star representative. That plays into Dragic's favor. 

The Sixers are 24-23, eighth in the East and with an All-Star starter in Joel Embiid.

The Hornets are 20-29, 11th in the East and five games out of the playoffs.

Another name we saw surface Tuesday when Wall's injury came out was Jaylen Brown. Though it's confusing why Brown would even be considered. He's averaging 14.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals, shooting 46 percent from the field, 38 percent from three and 59 percent from the line.

Solid numbers, but not All-Star worthy, even when you account for his defense and his team's record.

Drummond himself threw some shade at Brown on Instagram while simultaneously praising Simmons.