76ers

Sixers' old bad habits resurface in Milwaukee

Sixers' old bad habits resurface in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE — A 20-point lead turned into a defeat Sunday as the Bucks pulled off a 118-110 comeback win over the Sixers

What’s one way to reclaim a home game at home? Closing the third quarter on a 21-0 run is a good suggestion. The Bucks erased an 86-72 Sixers advantage and held them scoreless in the final 6:32 of the third. The Sixers shot 0 for 8 and committed six turnovers during that pivotal stretch (26 on the night). 

Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s third-leading scorer, dropped a game-high 35 points. At one point when Antetokounmpo scored, he went over to the Sixers' bench in celebration. Antetokounmpo neared a triple-double with nine rebounds and seven assists. 

The Sixers dropped to 34-28; the Bucks improved to 34-29. The Sixers entered the night 1.5 games in front of the Bucks in the sixth spot. With a win, they could have moved up into the fifth seed ahead of the Wizards, who lost to the Pacers earlier Sunday. 

• Dario Saric was lights out in the first quarter. He shot a perfect 6 for 6 from the field (including a pair of threes) for 15 points in his first nine minutes. Saric actually didn’t attempt a shot in the second quarter. He finished the game with a team-high 25 points (9 for 11 from the field, 4 for 5 from three) and six rebounds in 32 minutes. 

• Ben Simmons tied a career-high 15 assists along in his 24th double-double of the season. He posted 12 points and five boards. Simmons accounted for all but 11 of the Sixers’ dimes. 

• Even though the Sixers took double-digit leads, this game never felt like it was a lock (as proven later). 

• Sixers fans traveled to Milwaukee, via a trip organized by The Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcast, looking to overshadow Bucks’ fans with plenty of “Trust the Process” cries. It was easy to tell where they were sitting as they resonated in the arena. Bucks fans countered with “Average Joe,” among other chants, and “Process This” when the game ended. 

• Injury scares: Embiid knocked knees with Khris Middleton with 46 seconds to play in the first quarter while Middleton was running through a screen. Embiid hit the ground, walked around on his own but was favoring his knee. The Sixers quickly took him out of the game. Embiid was looked at by the trainers on the bench and returned to start the second quarter. He ended up playing 31 minutes and posted 19 points and eight rebounds.

In the fourth quarter, Embiid was called for a flagrant-1 foul on Tyler Zeller as he dunked on a fast break. Zeller slammed into the ground. He eventually got up to shoot the free throw and then left the game. 

Kevin Knox, Zhaire Smith to have 2nd workout for Sixers

Kevin Knox, Zhaire Smith to have 2nd workout for Sixers

The Sixers are taking another look at two prospects two days before the NBA draft, in which they hold pick No. 10.

Kentucky forward Kevin Knox will be back at the training complex again Tuesday for an individual workout. Last week, he participated in a group setting.

Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith also will return for a second group workout.

Both stood out their first time in Camden, New Jersey.

“He walked into the gym, it’s not hard to see the intrigue with his size and mobility, his frame,” senior director of basketball operations Vince Rozman said of the 6-foot-9 Knox last week. “He’s 18, so there’s a lot to develop from.”

Knox, who averaged 15.6 points (34.1 percent from three), 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists as a freshman, was confident following his first performance for the Sixers.

“They’re really interested in me,” Knox said. “They love my game, they love the way I can shoot the ball. That’s something they really like to do is shoot a lot of threes. My versatility, being able to take guys off the dribble is something that would complement really well with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.”

The 6-foot-5 Smith posted 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists his freshman season. He was focused on demonstrating shooting, decision-making and playmaking during his first workout.

“He’s got great length,” vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley said last week. “He’s a terrific, terrific athlete. He didn’t shoot the ball as well throughout the year, but he came in here today and shot it pretty well.”

The Sixers additionally hold picks No. 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60. Tuesday’s group workout also will include La Salle guard-forward B.J. Johnson, USC guard De’Anthony Melton, Fairfield guard Tyler Nelson, Kansas guard Malik Newman and Wichita State guard Landry Shamet.

More on Sixers, NBA draft

• Knox thinks he would fit with Sixers

• NBA draft profile: Kentucky's Knox

NBA draft profile: Texas Tech's Smith

NBA draft profile: UCLA PG Aaron Holiday

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NBA draft profile: UCLA PG Aaron Holiday

Aaron Holiday

Position: Guard

Height: 6-0

Weight: 187

School: UCLA

Sixers fans should recognize the name. Aaron Holiday is the brother of former Sixers first-round pick Jrue Holiday and Bulls wing Justin Holiday. Aaron is the youngest — and smallest — of the three. 

A three-year player at UCLA, Holiday developed into one of the most prodigious scorers and shooters in Bruins history. He was the first UCLA player to lead the Pac 12 in scoring (20.3 points per game) since some guy named Reggie Miller. For his efforts, he was named to the All-Pac 12 first team.

For his college career, Holiday averaged 14.3 points and 4.7 assists per contest in 101 games (65 starts). He also hit 180 treys, shooting 42 percent from three.

Strengths
Holiday’s most obvious and translatable NBA attribute is his jump shot. He shot over 40 percent in all three of his seasons at UCLA and is capable off the dribble, off screens and in catch-and-shoot opportunities. He also has NBA range and is not afraid to pull up from any spot on the floor.

For his size, he’s a good, creative finisher and features a pretty nice floater. He understands how to attack defenses, especially in the pick and roll. He’s excellent at changing his pace and lulling defenders to sleep. He’s a good and willing passer. Defensively he has excellent instincts. He’s aggressive and does well at getting his hands in passing lanes.

Weaknesses
Size is a huge issue for Holiday. The other big issue is, he’s just an OK athlete that lacks quickness and explosion while driving to the basket. Defense is always going to be an issue as he’ll struggle to guard some of the bigger and more explosive point guards in the league. He also struggled with turnovers.

NBA comparison
Aaron Brooks, most recently of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both players make up for their size with excellent perimeter shooting. Brooks was more explosive coming out of Oregon, but also has a good change of pace to confuse opponents. Holiday has better feel and vision. Brooks has struggled defensively at the NBA level and Holiday will likely encounter the same issues.

How he'd fit with Sixers
It’s tough to project Holiday to the Sixers. His shooting would play well here and playing with a 6-foot-10 point guard would certainly help his cause, but where would he fit? He won’t be a starter right away and the Sixers already feature T.J. McConnell off the bench. McConnell provides energy and top-notch defense that Holiday cannot.

Draft projection
The modern NBA is all about the three so teams will be interested in Holiday as a backup point guard and shooter off the bench. He could go anywhere from the late teens to the mid-20s.

More on the Sixers and the NBA draft