nik stauskas

Sixers' castoffs get the last laugh in Brooklyn

Sixers' castoffs get the last laugh in Brooklyn

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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.”

Sixers set for 'weird' double reunion in Brooklyn

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USA Today Images

Sixers set for 'weird' double reunion in Brooklyn

NEW YORK — There’s going to be a lot of familiar faces at the Barclays Center.

Wednesday will be a double reunion for the Sixers when they face two former teammates, Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas, for the first time as members of the Nets.

The Sixers traded the duo and a future second-round pick to Brooklyn on Dec. 7 in exchange for Trevor Booker.

“Just to see them on another bench and subbing in against us, it’s going to be really weird,” T.J. McConnell said. “I’m especially close with Nik and Jahlil so playing against two really good friends, it’s going to be different.”

Both Okafor and Stauskas played over two seasons in Philadelphia. The Sixers drafted Okafor with the third pick in 2015. That summer they acquired Stauskas, the 2014 eighth overall pick, from the Kings.

Neither clicked within the Sixers' system, though. Throughout his time on the team, Okafor found himself in a logjam at the center position and battling injuries. He got healthy this summer and dropped weight on a vegan diet, but was out of the rotation this season leading up to the trade.

Stauskas fluctuated from a starter to a reserve and struggled to find the shooting success he had at Michigan. He appeared in only six games for the Sixers this season.

“It’ll be nice to see Nik and Jah again; it’s been a while,” Dario Saric said. “They have (a) better opportunity there. It was, for their development, better for sure to go there and help their game.”

Okafor was back on the sidelines when he was traded to Brooklyn. The Nets held him out while the team worked with him on his conditioning. Okafor is averaging 5.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 12.1 minutes over 14 games for the Nets. He is coming off a 21-point, six-rebound performance against the Timberwolves.

Staskas dropped 22 points in his first game with the Nets. He then had a stretch of offensive woes mixed in with DNPs, but like Okafor, bounced back in Brooklyn's last game (15 points and four rebounds).

“You always wish them well,” Brett Brown said. “You’re always happy to see them. They’re good people. They love basketball. You hope along their path you helped them out in some small way.”

The Sixers (24-23) will head to Brooklyn looking to snap a two-game skid after back-to-back losses on the road against the Thunder and the Bucks. The Nets (18-32) also will be hungry to break a three-game losing streak.

“We’re going to go at them,” Ben Simmons said. “It’s going to be fun, though, just seeing them. But at the same time we’ve got business to handle in Brooklyn.”

Okafor, Stauskas debut for Nets in ugly loss

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USA Today Images

Okafor, Stauskas debut for Nets in ugly loss

TORONTO -- Kyle Lowry had his 11th career triple-double, DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points and the Toronto Raptors won their ninth straight meeting with Brooklyn by routing the Nets 120-87 on Friday night.

Serge Ibaka scored 18 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 as Toronto won its eighth consecutive home game and improved to 10-1 at Air Canada Centre.

It was the second triple-double of the season for Lowry, who finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Lowry's previous triple-double came against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 27.

Nik Stauskas scored 22 points in his Brooklyn debut and Isaiah Whitehead had 13 for the Nets in their most lopsided defeat of the season. Brooklyn's previous worst loss was a 107-86 blowout at New York on Oct. 27. The Nets lost by more than 14 points for the second time.

Norman Powell and Jakob Poeltl each scored 11 points for the Raptors, who played without forward C.J. Miles (sore left shoulder).

Nets guard Allen Crabbe (sore left knee) and forward DeMarre Carroll (rest) both got the night off. Brooklyn was playing the second game of a back-to-back, and its third in four days.

With Carroll and Crabbe unavailable, Brooklyn's recently acquired duo of Jahlil Okafor and Stauskas made their Nets debuts. Both arrived in a Dec. 8 trade with Philadelphia (see full recap).

Paul, Rockets rout Spurs for 12th straight win
HOUSTON -- Chris Paul had 28 points, eight assists and seven steals to lead the Houston Rockets to their 12th straight victory, a 124-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

Paul became the first player in NBA history to post 28 points, eight assists and seven steals in a game against the Spurs. In the past 10 years, that stat line has been achieved just 10 times -- Paul has done it six of those times. The Rockets are unbeaten when he plays this season.

Paul's dazzling performance came on a night James Harden had one of his worst 3-point shooting nights of the season, making 6 of 18 from the field, including 2 of 11 from 3. Harden had 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists, scoring half his points on 14-of-16 shooting from the free-throw line.

The Rockets are on the fourth-longest win streak in franchise history and the longest since a franchise-best 22 straight in the 2007-08 season.

All Rockets starters and reserve Eric Gordon had scored in double figures by the end of the third quarter. Clint Capela had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Gordon scored 14 points, Ryan Anderson had 12, and Trevor Ariza added 11 (see full recap).

Gobert, Favors hurt at Jazz still beat Celtics
BOSTON -- Ricky Rubio had 22 points, Donovan Mitchell added 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and the Utah Jazz beat the Boston Celtics 107-95 on Friday night.

Jonas Jerebko and Rodney Hood also finished with 17 points for the Jazz, who snapped a four-game losing streak. It was Utah's first victory in Boston since 2008, a span of nine games.

But the win came at a cost.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert left the game early in the first quarter with a left knee injury after teammate Derrick Favors fell backward into his leg. Gobert was able to walk off the court on his own power, but went straight to the locker room and did not return.

The second quarter brought more injuries. First, Boston's Daniel Theis left with a facial injury. Later, Jaylen Brown of the Celtics caught Favors with an incidental elbow, leaving him bleeding from his left eye and Brown from his elbow. Favors received six stitches and did not return.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 33 points. Al Horford added 21 points and seven assists (see full recap).