76ers

NBA summer league: Sixers fall to Thunder in OT after improbable comeback as Shake Milton leaves with apparent injury

NBA summer league: Sixers fall to Thunder in OT after improbable comeback as Shake Milton leaves with apparent injury

Summer league games are usually not the cleanest or sharpest, but they’re often interesting, in their own way. Monday's matchup between the Sixers and Oklahoma City Thunder was not an exhibition of beautiful basketball, but it did provide plenty of unexpected drama.

The Sixers fell in Las Vegas against Oklahoma City, 84-81, after coming back from a 31-point deficit to force overtime. Rookie Matisse Thybulle's driving layup off a pindown screen tied the game at 81 with 10.6 seconds remaining, and the Sixers got a stop on the Thunder's final possession of regulation. Oklahoma City held the Sixers scoreless in the two-minute overtime as PJ Dozier missed a long three-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied the game.

The team’s next game is Wednesday against the Pistons at 3 p.m. (NBA TV).

Marial Shayok missed Monday’s game with left knee soreness and is day-to-day, according to The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. The second-round pick signed a two-way contract with the Sixers Sunday.

• Shake Milton had an auspicious start, knocking down a contested three-pointer from the top of the key on his first shot attempt after making just 4 of his first 29 shots in summer league.

That was, however, his best moment of the day. Milton left the game late in the second quarter after appearing to injure his ankle stepping on the foot of first-round pick Darius Bazley. Milton, who walked to the locker room after the play, had five points on 2 for 7 shooting and four turnovers.

• Zhaire Smith was the Sixers’ best player.

He missed his first four shots but made 8 of his next 15, including a pull-up three from the left wing early in the fourth quarter, and finished with a team-high 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Smith has made some mistakes in summer league — including four turnovers vs. the Thunder — but you expect he’ll benefit from the chance to play and learn from those errors in a relatively low-pressure setting. 

• The points of emphasis for Thybulle as a rookie will likely be playing disruptive defense and knocking down three-point shots. Those are two things he can do immediately at the NBA level. 

A secondary, long-term focus for Thybulle should be ball handling. On one first-quarter play Monday, he pump faked from the right wing, took a weak dribble to the middle and was stripped. On a second-quarter play, Thybulle started an unsure drive to the hoop, lost control on a behind-the-back move and had to kick it back out behind the three-point line. While developing his handle will take time and isn’t essential for his rookie year, at a minimum he’ll need to be stronger with the ball come the regular season. 

Thybulle had 14 points on 4 for 10 shooting (2 of 6 from three-point range), four rebounds and two steals.

His instincts and closing speed on defense remain highly impressive. He read this pass and swiped the ball with ease.

• When you watch a game involving Norvel Pelle, it’s a good bet that you’re going to see one or two eye-opening, above-the-rim blocks.

The Sixers will hope they can continue refining his other tools as a rim protector, including the ability to defend without fouling and choose the right gambles to make. Pelle’s athleticism and shot blocking are outstanding skills, but they’re not necessarily enough to cement an NBA future. 

• Pelle only played six minutes Monday as the Sixers gave Christ Koumadje an extended look. In 20 minutes, the 7-foot-4 Koumadje had 10 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. 

• Dozier and Jalen Jones were not bashful about shooting the ball, and neither had much success. The pair combined to shoot 3 for 27. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Mike Scott wants focus to remain on racial equality but thinks NBA jersey idea is 'terrible'

Mike Scott wants focus to remain on racial equality but thinks NBA jersey idea is 'terrible'

As the Sixers have made more players available leading up to the NBA’s attempt at a restart, we’ve gotten a little perspective on the idea of the “bubble” and playing games with no fans in Disney World.

Players have talked about the global pandemic and protests against racial inequality and police brutality continuing in the country. While there’s been a couple concerns raised, you can’t help but wonder if we’re getting the players’ true feelings on the entire situation.

If there’s one thing we’ve come to know about Mike Scott, it’s that you’ll never be left wondering what he was thinking after he speaks. In a video conference call with reporters Monday, Scott voiced serious concerns over returning to play.

Yeah,” Scott said when asked if it’s hard to get excited to play again. “Just trying to change your mentality from what’s going on and being with your family and making sure they’re safe and racism, coronavirus, and then turn and switch it on to go to Orlando and playing basketball. Easier said than done.

"Most people would [think] it should be pretty easy, just think about basketball, but I don’t know, man. It’s tough. Just thinking about it after what’s gone on the past couple months. I’ve been dealing with that and just trying to work out every day, get my mind ready for Orlando, but at the same time how can you not look and focus on everything else that’s going on? It’s definitely tough.

While always honest, Scott is generally one of the more positive players on the team. He’s always good for a quote that’ll get people talking and for his brutally honest assessments of how he played.

Monday’s media session was sobering. It was obvious in the 15 or so minutes that he spoke with reporters that he still has a lot of raw emotion in the wake of the death of George Floyd and similar incidents that have occurred around the country.

A lot of anger, disappointment,” Scott said. “Just questioning a lot of stuff like, ‘What’s going on in this world? How can people be so evil?’ Just a lot of anger, man. Mostly just anger. Using my platform … I’m more reserved, laid back, and I’m more of let’s just do it instead of just talking about it. Just go out there and just do it. … There was a lot of anger and [I'm] still angry.

Health and safety concerns are paramount to the NBA’s return, but so too is making sure that in a league made up of predominantly Black athletes, the voices of the players are heard. Several players expressed concern of an NBA return taking away from racial equality causes. 

The league will reportedly try to help players “call attention to racial equality, social justice and police brutality.” “Black Lives Matter” will reportedly be painted on all three courts in Disney World, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Zach Lowe.

Another step the league is reportedly taking is allowing players to have messages on the back of their jerseys instead of their last names. The phrases come from an approved list of 29 agreed upon by the NBA and NBPA, per Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated.

Scott isn’t sure what the best way to keep spreading these messages is, but he’s not a fan of the jersey idea. He wishes the players could’ve had more input.

They gave us some names and phrases to put on the back of jerseys,” Scott said. “That was terrible. It was a bad list, bad choice. They didn’t give players a chance to voice their opinion on it. They just gave us a list to pick from. That was bad. That’s terrible. Just voice your opinion, how you feel. 

“I don’t know how you can use your platform. I don’t know. Vote. Of course, vote. See what laws we can change. But I’m all about just doing, instead of just saying or posting or putting something on the back of your jersey. I don’t think that’s going to stop anything. I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know.

While Scott is glad to have his teammates to lean on, he still can’t help but be affected by what’s happening outside his own bubble.

“A lot of dialogue with teammates and coaches, especially with Tobias [Harris],” Scott said. “He’s been keeping us together and me and him have been talking every day about what’s going on in the world. It’s just a lot of frustration. Just a terrible time, a crazy time right now.”

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Sixers' Mike Scott supports new name for his favorite football team — and a new owner

usa_mike_scott_sixers.jpg
USA Today Images

Sixers' Mike Scott supports new name for his favorite football team — and a new owner

Mike Scott is a native of Chesapeake, Virginia, a one-time Washington Wizard and a longtime fan of the Washington football team.

He weighed in Monday on his favorite football team’s name, which the organization said Friday it is conducting a “thorough review” on. FedEx requested that the team change its name, while Nike removed all team apparel from its website. The team's current name is widely considered a slur against Native Americans. 

We’ve got some options," Scott said on a video call with reporters. "Red Tails is good. … They’ve been trying to change the name. I’m all for that — change it. S---, change the owner. If they want to change it and represent something else, that’s cool, that’s good. Like I said, I’m all about just doing it. If they want to change the name, I’m with that. Change the owner, too.

Dan Snyder has owned the franchise since 1999.

Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins has endorsed the Red Tails nickname. The famous Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black aviators in the United States Armed Forces, were known as the Red Tails. 

Scott attended the Eagles’ Week 1 matchup against Washington last season and got into a physical altercation with Eagles fans before the game who he said yelled slurs at him.

The 31-year-old forward has averaged 5.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in his second season as a Sixer. He’s earned a reputation as a genuine, no-nonsense character. 

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers