76ers

Sixers paper thin at center with injury to Boban Marjanovic

Sixers paper thin at center with injury to Boban Marjanovic

It’s something nobody wants to see.

With 1:05 left in the Sixers’ 111-110 win over the Pelicans, Boban Marjanovic lay on the ground, writhing in pain.

Marjanovic forced a turnover and as Cheick Diallo went to try to grab the loose ball, he landed awkwardly on the Serbian big man’s right knee. Marjanovic had to be helped off the floor.

The Sixers built a 16-point lead, but wound up hanging on for dear life (see observations). They committed 20 turnovers and gave New Orleans a chance in the end. E’Twaun Moore’s three attempt that would’ve given the Pelicans the win was blocked by Jimmy Butler.

All of that seemed secondary after Marjanovic left the game.

“Our teammate got hurt. It sucks,” Ben Simmons said to reporters postgame. “It’s sad to see your teammate go down. Nobody wants to see their teammate go down.” 

Already without All-Star Joel Embiid, who is dealing with knee soreness, Marjanovic’s injury could leave the Sixers paper thin at center. He’ll undergo further testing Tuesday, according to the team.

Jonah Bolden got the start at the five and played well, but got in foul trouble, something that has plagued the promising rookie. 

And Marjanovic had actually given the Sixers a big boost when Bolden went to the bench. He scored 12 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the field and also grabbed 10 boards and recorded two blocks.

Marjanovic struggled mightily in the loss to Portland — he was far from the only one — but has played well overall in the three games that Embiid has missed. While he isn’t the fleetest of foot, he can be useful in the right matchup.

Brett Brown had mentioned on one more than one occasion that he’d like to see just how much far he can push Marjanovic. Hopefully he still gets that chance.

“When you see something like that, your heart sinks,” Brown said. “He’s good people and he’s helping us. He really was a significant piece and contributor to our program. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and learn more I’m sure very shortly.”

If Marjanovic is out for an extended period, the Sixers will be left with Embiid — whenever he returns — Bolden and veteran Amir Johnson. 

Could they look to add another piece if someone like Chicago’s Robin Lopez or Atlanta’s Dewayne Dedmon gets bought out? Either player would certainly be worth a look if they’re bought out ahead of March 1, when playoff rosters need to be set.

For now, all the Sixers can do is hope that Embiid and Marjanovic get well soon.

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Tobias Harris is blocking out outside noise about big contract, trying to carry Sixers

Tobias Harris is blocking out outside noise about big contract, trying to carry Sixers

When you’re given the largest contract in the history of a storied franchise like the Sixers in the city of Philadelphia, you’re going to face scrutiny.

Tobias Harris has gotten his fair share since inking a five-year, $180 million near-max deal this past offseason. The 27-year-old hasn’t consistently provided the scoring needed to complement Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Though at times, like Thursday night against the Knicks, Harris has looked like the player GM Elton Brand traded for and then chose to re-sign as a franchise cornerstone. 

With Embiid and Simmons both on the shelf, this is the version the Sixers need to see a lot more of.

“At the beginning of the game, had some good looks going,” Harris said. “We had good pop to our flow, to our offense, and was able to get some just in-the-flow plays. Once I'm able to get into the flow and the ball is able to move around, that's where I'm at my best. And I just carried that throughout the game.”

Harris, who was one off his Sixers high with 34 points, has said since he arrived before last season’s trade deadline that he flourishes in systems with good ball movement. That’s likely why he’s shot the ball better from three with Simmons on the floor (37.5) than off (29.5).

Simmons leads the NBA in assists on threes whereas with Embiid, his methodical approach in the post can make the offense stagnant at times. With both off the floor, Harris will have to do more to get his own shot.

Brett Brown admitted after Thursday’s game that he’s simplified the offense with his two All-Stars out. Against the Knicks, Harris just attacked mismatches all night, punishing smaller defenders in the post and driving on New York’s bigs.

“With those two out, we'll have to find our identity of how we're going to play,” Harris said. “You saw tonight, we had a lot of just wide-open looks out of the initial pin down action either between Al [Horford] and [Josh Richardson] or Al [Horford] and [Alec] Burks so we got a lot of easy ones going and just were able to go at different mismatches that we felt.”

The trio of Harris, Horford and Richardson struggled in Cleveland, going 12 of 35. They all had bounce-back games of some sort, but it was Harris who likely got the most heat and responded in the biggest way.

Does he feel like it’s his responsibility to carry the team right now because of the large investment the they made on him?

“I would be naive to think there’s not a hint of that,” Brown said. “I think he’s really competitive and if you paid him a nickel or $170 million, I think that you’re going to get a highly competitive player. ... He’s very prideful. That’s why he’s good. 

“He’s trying to do his part obviously to earn his keep, but I think it’s way deeper than that. I think he just wants to be on a winning team for a long time and try to help steer this program to trying to find, at some point, a championship.”

With the fans, there's a sentiment of Harris being overpaid, so not much is made when he hangs 34 on a bad Knicks team. It makes sense. Fans would rather root for an underdog like Shake Milton, who's come out of nowhere to earn important minutes.

Harris has become a leader and a respected player in the Sixers’ locker room. That’s his only concern.

“There's obviously outside noise that comes involved with [signing a big contract],” Harris said. “I always look at it like the only noise that really carries weight for me is noise in our locker room, and with the guys on our team and coaching staff. I truly believe that you can ask every single one of them in the locker room, the value that I bring to this team, on and off the floor, and they will vouch for that. That's the credibility that I go with. ... So I just try to do my job on a daily basis, be a professional every day and go to work.”

With 22 games left and the Sixers trying to claw their way up the East with their All-Stars banged up, Harris will have ample opportunity to show his value to everyone else.

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Jrue Holiday told embarrassing condom story from rookie season in Philly

ap-jrue-holiday-sixers.jpg
AP

Jrue Holiday told embarrassing condom story from rookie season in Philly

Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick are two former Sixers who were very well liked during their playing days in Philadelphia. Now they're temmates on the New Orleans Pelicans and shared a microphone this week on Redick's podcast to talk all things NBA.

The topic of rookie duties came up and the two shared that they couldn't have been more different as rookies. Holiday admitted he was very accommodating to the veterans on his team while Redick had a bit of an attitude; "I think in general, I just rubbed people the wrong way," Redick said.

"I was a pansy," Jrue said. "I did everything Elton Brand told me to do. Willie Green told me to do. Andre Iguodala told me to do. Whatever they told me to do, I was doing it, four o'clock in the morning I was doing it."

"Rubber runs?" Redick asks.

"Oh yeah, gold cards, the Magnums," Holiday said.

"For those of us who are unclear what we're talking about," Redick said. "We're talking about condoms."

"Protection."

But it wasn't just the late night runs that the rookies were forced to go on. They also had to carry a crazy amount of condoms around with them on a regular basis.

"Back in the day they had the [NBPA health professional] lady that came and talked to us," Holiday said. "They gave us this big bag, huge bag, of like 150 condoms. It was the rookie's responsibility to bring that bag on every road trip. Think of the conversation you have, let's say you have a girl and it's like, 'Alright, why do you have a million condoms in your backpack? You look suspicious.'"

The two talk about how rookie duties "isn't really part of the culture anymore" but as Sixers fans know, vets can still get some biscuits when needed.

Here's the 76ers roster for Jrue's rookie season in 2009-2010 in case you are curious who was the team's leading scorer.

The "rookie duties" part of the podcast comes in around the 41-minute mark, you can listen to the entire pod below:

Holiday also spoke about having a chip on his shoulder for a few seasons after getting traded by Sam Hinkie on draft day in 2013.

"I got a call from Sam Hinkie. I don't even know why I picked up the phone. It's so weird. Sam was like, 'Sorry I never got to meet you, but...' Was like a 30-second conversation. 'We're trading you to New Orleans for the sixth pick.' I'm just kind of like, 'Alright, thanks.' And we hang up."

"By the time I came back from my injury, it was over with, the steam, it was over with."

Redick goes on to tell how in 2016, his Clippers coach Doc Rivers messed with him in brutal fashion.

"I get a call from Doc [on draft night]," Redick said. "I probably should answer this. I'm thinking, he's gonna say, 'Hey, we're thinking about drafting player XYZ, what do you think of this guy?' Which was a common thing. I'm like, 'Hey Doc, what's up?' And he's like, 'Hey, we just traded you to Memphis for Brandan Wright and a first round pick.' And then he just starts laughing. I was like, 'Doc, what the f*** are  you talking about???!' And he's like, 'Nah, I'm just kidding! We didn't trade you.'"

That's cold.

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