Sixers' 3-point shooting doesn't make trip to Milwaukee

Sixers' 3-point shooting doesn't make trip to Milwaukee


MILWAUKEE — The Sixers’ three-point shooting went M.I.A. in Milwaukee.

“Our threes were today, I don’t know, something that we forgot in Oklahoma or at home,” Dario Saric said. “It was really hard for us.”

The Sixers went 2 for 26 from long range in their 107-95 loss to the Bucks Monday at the BMO Bradley Center (see observations). They shot 7.7 percent, the second-lowest percentage by an NBA team this season.

Starters Saric (0 for 8), Robert Covington (1 for 8) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (0 for 4) accounted for the majority of attempts as the team struggled to generate extra offense in the absence of Joel Embiid, who was held out because of the back-to-back set.

“We tried to find somebody to make a three and we just couldn’t find it,” Brett Brown said. “Without Joel, if we were going to win, we needed a successful three-point night.”

The Sixers didn’t hit a three until James Young knocked one down from Ben Simmons with 3:28 to go in the third quarter.

"I think it was just our bad game," Saric said. "We were tired from the game against Oklahoma. We lost so much energy there on that game."

The Bucks countered the Sixers’ struggles with 11 treys (39.3 percent). They were sparked by the bench, which shot 8 for 15. The Bucks’ reserves carried so much of their three-point scoring, Giannis Antetokounmpo shot only 1 for 5 on his way to a game-high 31 points.

The home team Bucks locked down on the Sixers’ long-range game after the Sixers shot 10 for 25 in their Jan. 20 matchup in Philadelphia. Covington and Luwawu-Cabarrot each drained three treys in the Sixers’ win.

“We obviously defended the three-point line extremely well,” Bucks head coach Joe Prunty said. “In some cases, they put up shots that they missed, but overall the effort to go out and cover, that was really good.”

The Sixers are right in the middle of the pack in the NBA when it comes to three-point shooting, ranked 18th at 35.9 percent. They shoot 37.6 percent in wins compared to 34.3 percent in losses.

“I think if we would have hit a lot of threes,” Simmons said, “it would have been a whole different game.”

LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer takes tanking jab at Sixers

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 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