76ers

Rockets make sure win streak stays on the rise

uspresswire-rockets-clint-capela.jpg
USA Today Images

Rockets make sure win streak stays on the rise

LOS ANGELES -- James Harden scored 17 of his 25 points in Houston's dominant first quarter, and the Rockets rolled past the Los Angeles Clippers 105-92 on Wednesday night for their 14th consecutive victory.

The Rockets (48-13) matched their longest winning streak of the season and remained a half-game ahead of Golden State for the NBA's best record.

Clint Capela and Eric Gordon each scored 22 points for the Rockets, who made 13 3-pointers.

Tobias Harris led the Clippers with 24 points, with Montrezl Harrell added 22. Lou Williams and Milos Teodosic each scored 13.

The Clippers played the previous night in Denver and looked it.

They missed 16 of their first 19 shots, had 11 turnovers and trailed by as many as 27 points in the first quarter. Harden faked Wesley Johnson so badly on one move that Johnson fell to the floor. Harden stared at him as Johnson got back up, then sunk a 3-pointer for a 31-7 lead.

The Clippers shot 22.7 percent (5 of 22) for the period and trailed 34-12 at the end of the quarter.

The Clippers overcame a 19-point deficit to win in Denver on Tuesday, but never got closer than eight against the Rockets.

Schroder, lowly Hawks hold off Pacers
ATLANTA -- Dennis Schroder scored seven of Atlanta's final eight points to finish with 14, and the Hawks held off a late Indiana comeback to beat the Pacers 107-102 on Wednesday night.

John Collins had 16 points for the Hawks, who led by 23 before holding on late to end their four-game losing streak.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Indiana with 26 points while making four 3-pointers in the final period. His third 3 of the period cut the Atlanta lead to 97-91. A follow shot by Domantas Sabonis, who had 14 points, pulled the Pacers to 101-99.

Schroder answered with a layup with 44 seconds remaining, and then added another driving layup following an Indiana turnover.

Taurean Prince had 15 points, all in the first half, and Dewayne Dedmon also scored 15 for Atlanta (see full recap).

Streaking Pelicans rally after Aldridge injury
SAN ANTONIO -- Anthony Davis had 26 points and 15 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans rallied in the final two minutes to beat San Antonio 121-116 on Wednesday night, adding to the Spurs' misery after losing LaMarcus Aldridge to an injury in the first half.

New Orleans won its seventh straight after trailing by as many as 15 points.

San Antonio, which has been without superstar forward Kawhi Leonard for all but nine games this season, lost Aldridge to a sprained right ankle late in the first half. Aldridge landed awkwardly while defending a driving hook shot by Davis with three minutes left in the second quarter.

The injury would prove critical down the stretch for the Spurs, who've lost five of their past six. The team did not immediately disclose how long Aldridge will be out.

Jrue Holiday finished with 25 points and Rajon Rondo added 13 points and 12 assists for the Pelicans.

San Antonio had six players in double figures, including 19 from Rudy Gay and 18 from Dejounte Murray (see full recap).

Source: Nemanja Bjelica will not sign with Sixers, returning to Europe

usa_nemanja_bjelica.jpg
USA Today Images

Source: Nemanja Bjelica will not sign with Sixers, returning to Europe

There's a reason why the Sixers hadn't announced the acquisition of Nemanja Bjelica.

No dotted line was ever inked.

The free-agent power forward, who had reportedly agreed to a one-year deal earlier this month, informed the Sixers on Tuesday he will not sign and instead return to Europe, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.

The 30-year-old Bjelica, who reportedly agreed on the mid-level exception, was seen as a cheaper and younger replacement for Ersan Ilyasova, who signed with the Bucks.

A 6-foot-10, 240-pounder from Serbia, Bjelica played three seasons with the Timberwolves. Last year in Minnesota, he set career highs in minutes (20.5), points per game (6.8), rebounds per game (4.1), three-point percentage (41.5) and three-pointers made (76).

Along with Ilyasova, the Sixers also lost key bench contributor Marco Belinelli in free agency. They acquired Wilson Chandler in a trade with the Nuggets and may possibly go forward with internal options to fill out pieces to their second unit.

The team on Monday officially re-signed big man Amir Johnson. It also has some size and shooting ability along the wing in Justin Anderson (6-6), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (6-6) and Furkan Korkmaz (6-7).

More on the Sixers

Sixers reportedly rebuffed in attempt to hire Rockets GM Daryl Morey

Sixers reportedly rebuffed in attempt to hire Rockets GM Daryl Morey

Well, you can’t say the Sixers aren’t aiming high.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Sixers “have been rebuffed in their attempt to hire away Houston's Daryl Morey to take over as their new general manager.” Stein added that the team had great interest in Morey, but he couldn’t be lured away from the Rockets.

Morey, who has served as the Rockets’ general manager since 2007, was named the NBA’s Executive of the Year after Houston secured the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a franchise-best 65-17 record during the 2017-18 regular season.

Morey obviously fits the Sixers from a surface standpoint with his analytics background, commitment to building a pace-and-space roster and desire to chase stars. However, what makes the Sixers’ desire in him really interesting is that Morey is the mentor of former Sixers front office executive Sam Hinkie.

Bryan Colangelo, the man who replaced Hinkie in the Sixers’ front office, resigned in June after a scandal involving multiple secret Twitter accounts rocked the franchise. Head coach Brett Brown took over as interim general manager following Colangelo's resignation.

The Sixers have been patient throughout their search as managing owner Josh Harris recently said there is no timetable to select a candidate.

“We’re just getting focused on it now, given everything with free agency and the draft, and also the other GMs are in the same place. We’re looking for the right person,” Harris told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Amy Fadool last week (see story). “One of the things that Bryan Colangelo did really well was we built a great staff, whether it be (vice president of basketball operations and chief of staff) Ned Cohen or (vice president of analytics and strategy) Alex Rucker or (vice president of player personnel) Marc Eversley or (Delaware Blue Coats general manger) Elton Brand, we have a lot of great people. It’s very consensus-oriented, there’s a lot of people in the dialogue, and we want to make sure we find the right fit for that. 

“It’s not going to be easy. My guess is it’s going to take awhile. And we’re obviously focused on doing it as quickly as possible, but at the same time I don’t want to set unrealistic expectations — it could take a little while. So we’re just starting that.”

More on the Sixers