76ers

Curry explodes for 45 points in 3 quarters

usa-steph-curry-warriors-clippers.jpg
USA Today Images

Curry explodes for 45 points in 3 quarters

LOS ANGELES — Points came easily for Steph Curry on Saturday. Eleven in his first five minutes, 17 before the game was 8 1/2 minutes old.

"I just wanted to start off the game right," Curry said. "It's obviously weird starting a game at 12:30 (p.m.). You've got to find that energy and something to build momentum, especially early."

He finished with a season-high 45 points without playing the fourth quarter and the Golden State Warriors ran away from the Los Angeles Clippers 121-105 for their fourth straight victory.

"I knew right away, when I got free for a couple of threes in the first quarter and they went down, I got in a rhythm," Curry said. "Beyond that, you just keep your head down and keep shooting and stay aggressive."

Curry took advantage of the guard-depleted Clippers, making 11 of 21 shots, including 8 of 16 3-pointers, going against rookie Juwan Evans and G-League call-up Tyrone Wallace (see full recap).

Tatum helps Celtics win sixth straight heading into matchup vs. Sixers
NEW YORK — With a couple big wins behind them and a long plane ride ahead, the Boston Celtics knew they were in for a rough game.

"I think everybody had to push through," rookie Jayson Tatum said.

Tatum did most of the pushing at the end.

He had a driving dunk and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions, pulling the Celtics out of a late hole and leading them to an 87-85 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.

Playing without Al Horford because of a sore left knee, Boston won its sixth straight heading into its trip to London to face Philadelphia on Thursday (see full recap).

Pistons recover from blowout loss vs. Sixers to beat Rockets
DETROIT  — Tobias Harris scored 27 points, and the Detroit Pistons held on for another win against one of the NBA's top teams, 108-101 over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

Detroit is only four games over .500, but the Pistons have beaten Golden State, Boston, San Antonio, Minnesota and now Houston. The Rockets are without injured star James Harden, but the Pistons were missing their own standout, with Andre Drummond sidelined because of a right rib contusion.

As usual, Houston relied heavily on 3-point shooting. The Rockets went 7 for 13 from beyond the arc in the first quarter, but were only 8 for 34 after that.

Detroit was the more efficient team from 3-point range, going 12 of 25 (see full recap).

Antetokounmp, Bledsoe rally Bucks past Wizards
WASHINGTON — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 12 rebounds, Eric Bledsoe added 21 points and the Milwaukee Bucks pulled away late to beat the Washington Wizards 110-103 on Saturday night.

Antetokounmpo also had seven assists to help Milwaukee win for the fourth time in six games and snap Washington's four-game winning streak.

Khris Middleton had 20 points, and John Henson added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks. Milwaukee guard Matthew Dellavedova was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul on Washington's Bradley Beal midway through the fourth quarter.

John Wall had 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Wizards, but shot 0 for 5 from the floor in the fourth. Bradley Beal led Washington with 20 points on a night starting swingman Otto Porter Jr. sat out with a strained right hip (see full recap).

LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer takes tanking jab at Sixers

uspresswire-sixers-simmons-embiid-ballmer.jpg
USA Today Images

LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer takes tanking jab at Sixers

The Sixers have been minding their own business this summer.

We touched on that earlier this week as players from one Eastern Conference contender after another opened up about how their respective teams were going to reach the NBA Finals (see story).

That’s fine. You would expect those squads to feel confident in their ability, especially now that the conference’s boogie man, LeBron James, has moved on to Hollywood.

But then the Sixers had a grenade lobbed their way from an unlikely source.

Speaking at an event dubbed “The Playbook,” essentially a pep rally for LA Clippers fans to speak with members of the front office, owner Steve Ballmer assured supporters in the crowd that the franchise wasn’t going to adopt a tanking method to get back in contention like the Sixers.

“That ain’t us. Nuh-uh, no way,” Ballmer said, per the Los Angeles Times. “People can do it their way. We’re going to be good our way. We’re not going to show up and suck for a year, two years. I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the 76ers put in. How could we look you guys in the eye if we did that to you?”

Wow, OK.

Let’s look at the fact that the Sixers’ history, which includes three championships and a laundry list of some of the game's all-time greats, provided the organization with the leeway to undertake such a massive overhaul in a promise to reclaim the glory days. 

The Clippers, on the other hand, have just 13 playoff appearances in their 48-year history and zero titles. 

But this isn’t to beat up on the Clippers. They had to dig themselves out of the mess former owner Donald Sterling created and it can’t be easy always operating in the “Showtime” shadow cast by the Lakers.

This is more about what exactly Ballmer has accomplished — or hasn’t accomplished — in his brief time running a franchise to take a shot at the Sixers from across the country.

Since paying $2 billion for the Clippers prior to the start of the 2014-15 season (one year after the Sixers started “The Process”), the team has actually taken a wrong turn. In that ’14-15 campaign, they won 56 games and reached the Western Conference semifinals. The 2015-16 season produced 53 wins and a first-round exit. In 2016-17, LA registered 51 victories before bowing out in the first round again. Last season, the Clippers had a 42-40 record (two of those losses came to the Sixers) and missed the postseason.

Plus, in just the past calendar year under Ballmer’s watch, the Clips have lost their big three of Chris Paul (trade), Blake Griffin (trade) and DeAndre Jordan (free agent).

That doesn’t exactly scream team on the rise.

Ballmer may indeed have a plan to make sure the Clippers get back in the hunt. After all, he does have respected basketball minds Jerry West and Lawrence Frank handling front-office business and Doc Rivers still orchestrating things on the sidelines. And L.A., while now missing its star trio, does have some intriguing players on the roster that could surprise a few people.

Still, that collection was projected by ESPN to finish with a 35-47 record in 2018-19 and miss the playoffs again in the stacked Western Conference.

With the Clippers staring a decline right in the face and the Sixers boasting two franchise cornerstones in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons along with other solid pieces from Sam Hinkie’s process, it appears a bit misguided for Ballmer to take such a swipe.

Ballmer might not want the Clippers to tank under his leadership. The thing is, the organization might be forced into that method regardless.

More on the Sixers

Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as 2nd female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

ap-lindsey-harding-sparks.jpg
AP Images

Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as 2nd female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

The Sixers have made a historic hire in their scouting department.

The team has hired former WNBA star Lindsey Harding as a full-time scout starting next season. 

"I think when you have this goal in mind, your gender shouldn't even matter," Harding told ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne. "It should be about if you can do it, if you're good, you're experienced, if you know what you're doing and what you're talking about."

Harding, a Duke product and the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 WNBA draft, is just the second woman to be hired by an NBA team as a scout after a career in the WNBA. Jenny Boucek, who is now an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, was the first former WNBA player to be hired as a scout back in 2006 by the Seattle SuperSonics. Becky Hammon, one of Harding's former opponents who urged Harding to pursue this path, was hired as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Hammon has since been interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks' GM job and been promoted to Gregg Popovich's top assistant.

Harding completed the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season after retiring in 2017. The 34-year-old guard spent nine seasons in the WNBA and represented Belarus in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

"Lindsey has quickly become one of the game's bright young minds in basketball operations," Sixers head coach and interim GM Brett Brown said to Shelbourne. "Having graduated from the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season, Lindsey is applying the same grit and basketball IQ she used as a player in her move to the front office. We look forward to the work Lindsey will do to help grow our program and further solidify a culture of winning.

"It's no secret how much I value the culture we've built in Philadelphia and how much a family-like atmosphere means to our program. Lindsey is a leader, and she is a welcomed addition to the 76ers family. I look forward to working with her."

More on the Sixers