76ers

Sixers rush past Bucks into playoffs with NBA record in hand

Sixers rush past Bucks into playoffs with NBA record in hand

BOX SCORE

The regular season is over and the Sixers are heading into the playoffs as the third seed in the Eastern Conference. 

They reached 16 straight wins with a 130-95 victory, which is the longest streak by a team heading into the postseason. The Sixers finished the regular season with a 52-30 record and will face the Miami Heat in the first round (see story).

Markelle Fultz exploded off the bench for a 13-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. He came full circle in a rookie year that was hampered by injuries, clearly earning his place in the postseason rotation. 

• The Sixers were in control the whole time. They were up 46-18 at the end of the first quarter. Their massive 80-44 halftime lead was the most first-half points scored by the team since Feb. 11, 1992, against the Heat. 

• The Sixers took care of business easily with a quiet night from Ben Simmons. He shot just 1 for 6 from the field and finished with four points, six boards and seven assists. Simmons fell into foul trouble early in the game. 

• Fultz and T.J. McConnell paired up to fill in with the backcourt production. T.J. McConnell turned into “3.J.” McConnell with a pair of treys. He had not hit a three since Feb. 27. McConnell scored 16 points with six rebounds and seven assists. The Sixers leaned on the pairing as JJ Redick sat out the regular-season finale.

• Brett Brown said he was not concerned with strategically game planning in case the Sixers were matched up with the Bucks in the first round. His focus was on winning and securing the third seed.

• Dario Saric returned to the lineup after leaving Tuesday’s game because of a chipped tooth and lacerated lip. He found the rhythm he had been looking for since suffering from cellulitis in his right below. Saric scored a team-high 24 points. 

• Joel Embiid joined the Sixers on the bench, standing out in a bright orange jacket. The big man said it is “unlikely” he would be ready to play in Game 1 of the playoffs (see story)

• The usually-dominating Giannis Antetokounmpo posted just 10 points (5 for 15 from the field). He pulled down 10 rebounds. 

• Justin Anderson turned up the heat on his former college teammate Malcolm Brogdon. Anderson scored 25 points off the bench, topping Brogdon’s 13. Brogdon, who beat both Embiid and Saric last season for Rookie of the Year, was booed by Sixers fans when he touched the ball. Anderson has a way of stepping up in the regular season finale. Last season, he scored a career-high 26 points against the Knicks. 

• Eagles head coach Doug Pederson rang the ceremonial pregame bell:

Sixers' Tobias Harris narrating backyard wild turkeys is quarantine comedy gold

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@tobiasharris/Instagram

Sixers' Tobias Harris narrating backyard wild turkeys is quarantine comedy gold

Tobias Harris is separated from rookie cult hero and internet goofball Matisse Thybulle, which means he had to find other ways to populate his Instagram stories with comedy.

Enter a bunch of wild turkeys in Harris's backyard.

It's unclear where Harris is riding out the NBA's season suspension, but wherever it is, he was greeted Thursday afternoon by a few preening turkeys, a welcome sight for anyone bored of looking at the same eight things in their house every day.

Harris, of course, whipped out his phone and opened up Instagram, and started filming - and narrating - the impromptu wildlife.

You're gonna want to turn your sound on:

Is... is Harris narrating these turkeys' prospective sex lives? He definitely is, isn't he?

It's all amazing, but Harris getting spooked by the aggressive turkey at the end is an absolute highlight for me. Does he not trust the integrity of those windows?!

Again, we don't know where Harris is spending his time away from basketball, but judging by the fowl play, it might be New Jersey. The Garden State is known for its hordes of wild turkeys - there are roughly 20,000 living in the state - and the Sixers' practice facility is of course located in Camden.

Between Thybulle adding a Roomba as a pet, and now Harris's encounter with wild turkeys, it's certainly been an interesting few weeks of social distancing for the Sixers.

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Celtics' Jayson Tatum weighs in on Joel Embiid-Nikola Jokic best center debate

Celtics' Jayson Tatum weighs in on Joel Embiid-Nikola Jokic best center debate

Boston Celtics star guard Jayson Tatum has caused some headaches for the Sixers over the last few years, and will likely continue to do so, but it seems he has a healthy respect for his Philadelphia rivals.

Tatum, who kept busy during social distancing Wednesday night with an Instagram Live, was first asked about the best player in the league, and then asked for his MVP pick, two classic questions - he called LeBron James the best player, and said James was going to win MVP.

Then things got a little more interesting.

Tatum was conducting the IG Live with Pep Stanciel, a basketball skills coach who has worked with NBA players in the past, and Stanciel managed to get Tatum to name the league's best player at each position.

Here's Tatum's all-league starting lineup, per NBC Sports Boston:

Point Guard: Stephen Curry
Shooting Guard: James Harden
Small Forward: LeBron James
Power Forward: Anthony Davis
Center: Joel Embiid

You're not going to hear a lot of complaints about that list from NBA fans, though I bet the most objections would wind up with Embiid as the starting center.

The argument over the NBA's best center has been a hotly-contested topic for a couple years now, with the emergence of Embiid and Nikola Jokic as two position-breaking stars who can sort of do it all. 

Embiid is an unstoppable, bullying presence in the paint who puts opponents in foul trouble and dominates the rim on the defensive end. Jokic is a visionary passer who uses his height and creativity to his advantage, both in the half-court and in transition. 

They're both fantastic, and just different enough that the basketball world has sort of reached a stalemate on who is an all-around better center.

Is Tatum showing his Eastern Conference bias, considering he faces Embiid more often? It's certainly possible. But Embiid is also just really, really good.

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