76ers

Horford nails Super Bowl Sunday buzzer-beater

usa-al-horford-celtics-game-winner.jpg
USA Today Images

Horford nails Super Bowl Sunday buzzer-beater

BOSTON — Al Horford captured the attention of Boston sports fans even on Super Bowl Sunday.

Horford made a 15-foot fadeaway jumper at the buzzer and the Celtics finished off the Portland Trail Blazers 97-96 Sunday, giving New England fans a few hours to get home before the Patriots played for the NFL championship.

"Wanted to end the game so we could go watch the Super Bowl," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

Stevens spoke while wearing a Patriots hat. He was joined by Eagles fan and Celtics player Marcus Morris, who sported an Eagles jersey.

"I called game when Al hit the turnaround, just so you know," Morris said (see full recap).

Bazemore's late 3 lifts Hawks over Knicks
NEW YORK — It was a bull's-eye for Kent Bazemore.

Bazemore hit a 3-pointer with 6.7 seconds left that put the Atlanta Hawks ahead Sunday in a 99-96 win over the New York Knicks.

"It's just a catch-and-shoot situation," Bazemore said. "We work on plays all the time in practice where we have a guy who drives and kicks it out to somebody in the corner. It's just a synergy and rhythm thing."

"I read a book called the `Zen in the Art of Archery.' It talks about just let it go. Let it go and let the energy of the world take care of the rest," he said.

The Hawks rallied from a 93-87 deficit in the final 2:16 (see full recap).

Thunder lose 4th straight despite Westbrook's 36 points
OKLAHOMA CITY — Brook Lopez scored 20 points, Julius Randle added 19 and the Los Angeles Lakers sent the Oklahoma City Thunder to their fourth straight loss, 108-104 on Sunday.

Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points and Brandon Ingram added 16 for the Lakers, who have won six of eight.

Russell Westbrook scored 36 points and Paul George added 26 for the Thunder. Oklahoma City had won eight in a row before its current skid.

The Lakers took an 82-79 lead into the fourth quarter. Westbrook checked back in with the Lakers leading 87-84 and just over eight minutes remaining.

The Lakers went up 98-90 on a fast break layup by Josh Hart. Ingram made a layup for the Lakers and George fouled him (see full recap).

Antetokounmpo exits early in Bucks' win
NEW YORK — Giannis Antetokounmpo was planning to come back in, though his coach seemed to have other ideas.

Eric Bledsoe and the Bucks made it a moot point.

Bledsoe scored 28 points, John Henson had season highs with 19 points and 18 rebounds, and Milwaukee easily extended its winning streak over the Brooklyn Nets to 10 games with a 109-94 victory Sunday.

Antetokounmpo twisted his right ankle with about 7 1/2 minutes remaining, not long after the Nets had cut what had been a 28-point deficit to seven. But the Bucks got the next two baskets after his departure to finish an 8-0 run and push the lead back to 15.

"Giannis is a big piece of our team but we got other guys that can step up, especially down the stretch, and took on that role," Bledsoe said. "We just stayed together and hopefully he's all right." (see full recap.)

Source: Sixers will acquire Mike Muscala, send away Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson in 3-team trade

Source: Sixers will acquire Mike Muscala, send away Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson in 3-team trade

The Sixers were involved in a trade with Carmelo Anthony.

Exhale, Sixers fans, Anthony is not coming here. Instead, Anthony is being shipped to the Hawks — who will likely waive the veteran forward — with a 2022 protected first-round pick for point guard Dennis Schroder, according to a report Thursday by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Sixers in turn will send Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Thunder and Justin Anderson to the Hawks to acquire Atlanta’s Mike Muscala, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.

Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania first reported the Sixers' side of the deal.

The move makes sense for the Sixers on a couple fronts. After missing out on Serbian forward Nemanja Bjelica, who reportedly agreed to a deal with the team and then backed out, Brett Brown gets a player with a similar skill set in Muscala. The former Bucknell star has great size (6-foot-11, 240 pounds) and the ability to shoot (37.8 percent from three for his career).

It also makes sense from a roster standpoint. The team had a bit of a logjam on the wing and had 16 players for 15 roster spots. By losing two players and getting only one back, the Sixers are now at 15 players under contract. That also includes Jerryd Bayless, who will likely be bought out or stretched, but does not include 2017 second-round pick Jonah Bolden or 2018 second-round pick Shake Milton.

Muscala had a career year for the lowly Hawks. He averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20 minutes a game — all career marks. He also hit 37.1 percent of his threes on 3.2 attempts. A second-round pick by the Mavericks in 2013, Muscala has spent all five of his NBA seasons in Atlanta.

More on the Sixers

Sixers fans need to relax about team's offseason

Sixers fans need to relax about team's offseason

Here’s a brief message that some Sixers fans can use right now: relax.

Remember that you have a team with two budding superstars that reached the Eastern Conference semifinals just last season and should only be headed upward from here.

Sure, there’s going to be some level of disappointment when Brett Brown proclaimed the Sixers were going “star hunting” this summer only to come up empty on the free-agent market outside of re-signing their own players.

But, more than anything, how things transpired for the Sixers over the past few weeks should let you know that much more goes into landing a free agent than simply basketball.

Look at the first major domino to fall in free agency, Paul George. The five-time All-Star didn’t hesitate to make his decision and announced he was rejoining the Oklahoma City Thunder at a Russell Westbrook party shortly after midnight on July 1.

Despite the Sixers being in the mix for George, the Thunder always had the upper hand. The Thunder had George in the fold for a full year after acquiring him from Indiana last summer and used every day to convince him OKC was the right place to move forward.

“They honestly check the boxes where I needed those boxes to be checked from what a player wants and needs out of a front office, out of a medical group, out of teammates, out of coaching staff,” George said during exit interviews. “I mean, honestly, they can't say it anymore [than] that. They checked the boxes on what needs to be checked.”

Even with George on the market, the Sixers always had their top focus on the biggest available fish in the game: LeBron James. They even secured a meeting with James’ camp, albeit only with agent Rich Paul and not the three-time champion himself. 

Still, the Sixers, with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid leading the way, were serious contenders for James as Paul confirmed.

"The teams that he looked at, he looked at for guys like Ben Simmons,” Paul, who is also Simmons’ agent, said on NBA TV during a summer league game. “There's a reason why he looked at Philadelphia, but ultimately he chose the Lakers.”

And what ultimately made James join the Lakers, no matter what his representatives say to the contrary, had little to do with basketball. James has turned himself into an entertainment mogul, so who better to learn from than Magic Johnson? 

After all, King James reportedly already had dinner in Los Angeles last week with Al Pacino and Leonardo DiCaprio

We all love Philadelphia, but those types of Hollywood power brokers aren’t exactly making reservations for restaurants on Broad Street.

So the Sixers swung and missed on George for familiarity and James for off-court opportunities. 

Perhaps you can swallow missing out on two of the game’s best players, but now role players are spurning the franchise too? That’s enough to push a Sixers fan over the edge … until you dig a little bit deeper.

Nemanja Bjelica had his qualifying offer with the Minnesota Timberwolves rescinded and immediately jumped to the best situation for him when he reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Sixers.

However, Bjelica informed the team he was backing out of the deal and returning to Europe. That was until fellow Serbian and Kings general manager, Vlade Divac, came calling. Now the two sides are apparently deep in discussion on a multi-year contract.

Once you push through the initial wave of confusion, you find out that Bjelica simply didn’t want to move his family to Philadelphia for a year and be back on the hunt next summer. He was seeking what most of us do in a new job, which is stability. 

While that may seem a bit unreasonable for an NBA reserve big man, you can’t blame a guy for trying. And now it appears he may find some of what he desired in Sacramento.

Back here in Philadelphia, the Sixers are surely second-guessing what happened to their star hunt this offseason. While it came up empty-handed, the Sixers — and their fans — have to understand that so much more factors into securing a free agent than what actually takes place on the court and is not a red flag on the franchise.

More on the Sixers