76ers

Sixers see a different side of Tobias Harris — and it looked good

Sixers see a different side of Tobias Harris — and it looked good

Tobias Harris isn’t the flashiest player on the Sixers. He’s unassuming, both on and off the court. He’ll have his moments on social media — especially when interacting with his best friend Boban Marjanovic — but for the most part, he puts his head down and does his job.

That’s why it was a little surprising for him to be so demonstrative after knocking down a floater with 50.6 seconds to give the Sixers a nine-point lead and essentially seal the game. After the shot went down, Harris waved his arms to the crowd, imploring them to get louder.

That shot accounted for two of Harris’ 11 fourth-quarter points as the Sixers’ $180-million man delivered down the stretch in a 117-106 win over the Nets (see story).

Coming off two brutal road losses, it was much needed.

“Yeah, it felt great,” Harris said. “I think all of us, we want to go out each and every night and we want to win every game we can. So when we do fall short of wins, it's disappointing for us. So just to get out there and get tonight's win and to feel good and to play good as a team, and just to feed off one another was big for us.”

The one thing Brett Brown has lauded all season is Harris’ ability to score in a variety of ways. He’s called the 27-year-old the most versatile scorer he’s had during his time with the Sixers.

On Wednesday, Harris had a little bit of everything working in scoring 34 points, his second-highest total this season. He made threes (4 of 6) — a point of emphasis with his head coach — he got downhill and drove to the basket and also showed off his skills in the midrange.

The midrange jumper is sort of a dying shot in the NBA with so much emphasis on threes. For Harris, it’s part of his game — something he’s done well with his entire NBA career.

While Harris has added the three to his repertoire over the last few seasons, he’s not about to abandon a strength.

“I usually just take what the defense gives me,” Harris said. “The couple of last games, there was a little bit of hesitation towards the midrange just by determining where the defense is at. But tonight, I really had a focus on if I got the space, just raise up and shoot it and you make it, you make it. You miss it, hopefully we can get the rebound and go from there. So just determining the space that's there and being aggressive with it.”

It was impressive that the Sixers came out firing against Brooklyn. It would’ve been understandable if they came out a little gun shy after going just 15 of 70 combined from three in Dallas and Indiana. Harris himself didn’t have his best outings, going 3 of 12 from three and 16 of 38 overall.

But it wasn’t just a matter of the shots going down. Brown noticed something different about Harris. 

I think it's deeper than that. I think that there is a sincerity in him as a person and there is a genuine desire to win. And you can't dismiss that. ... There is a genuine desire to win and you can see it in his face and his actions in a locker room. It matters. He cares a lot. ... He was our bell ringer tonight. I was proud of him and it's deeper than he just made shots or whatever. To me, it is. It doesn't surprise me he came out the way he did.

They got the win, but it certainly wasn't easy. They trailed for a large chunk of the game before grinding out a victory.

The Sixers ought to be pretty used to close games by now. They were just coming off one against the Pacers where their offense went stagnant and was stifled down the stretch. 

Brown put the ball in Harris’ hands Monday night. The drawn up play was to get Harris a look at a three with the Sixers trailing by two with 29.4 seconds left. Instead of putting the Sixers on top, Harris was blocked by T.J. Warren and they never really got another opportunity.

It was a different story on Wednesday. The Sixers rode Harris and he provided. His biggest shot of the night came on a hot potato from Ben Simmons. That off-balance three extended the lead from two to five with 2:20 left.

For a team that’s struggled to close out games, it was a welcomed sight.

I think as a team, we're finding out what's going to work for us late game,” Harris said. “And that's playoff basketball. A lot of those games are close and right down to the last five minutes and it's pretty much execution and who can get the best shot off and who can get the best look at a great shot.

That three probably wasn’t the best shot, but it went in.

Did he know it was going in when it left his hand?

“Oh, yeah, for sure. I think the ball is always going in when I shoot it. ... But then when I saw it go in I was hype.”

This side of Harris seems like one the Sixers could use more often.

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Jerry Stackhouse tries to set record straight on scrimmages with 17-year-old Kobe Bryant

Jerry Stackhouse tries to set record straight on scrimmages with 17-year-old Kobe Bryant

At 17 years old, Kobe Bryant was scrimmaging against professional athletes and Philadelphia college stars, about to embark on a 20-year NBA career.

He impressed in those scrimmages with his skill and bravado. But, according to Jerry Stackhouse, Bryant wasn’t big on passing. 

Stackhouse, now the head coach at Vanderbilt, spent the first two-plus years of his career with the Sixers before being traded to the Pistons and matched up with Bryant in those scrimmages.

What happened with Kobe was nobody really wanted to play with Kobe,” he said on The Woj Pod. “[Former La Salle star and NBA player] Lionel Simmons, you used to always see him pulling Kobe to the side, like, ‘Man, you gotta pass the ball! You gotta learn how to do this!' Because the older guys were from Philly. … These stories kind of take on a life of their own. And yes, Kobe had some good days scoring the ball, because he could handle it so well. But he had tunnel vision at that point. You had pickup games, sometimes he didn’t even get picked up. 

“But again, because he’s so been great since this, these stories go back of ‘Oh, he beat Stackhouse one-on-one.’ Come on, man. Me at 20 years old, can you imagine a 17-year-old beating me consistently? I’d have hurt him first, real talk. Just physically, that could never happen to me. Did we play one-on-one? Yes. Did he beat me, did he maybe win a game? Yes. Did he consistently beat Jerry Stackhouse at 20 years old when he was 17? Hell no. I’m putting an end to that story. … Was he super talented and everyone saw great potential in him? Yes, but those scenarios … of Kobe Bryant, they’re a little bit of a different story when you go talk to people that were actually in the gym. 

Stackhouse noted that it took a little time for Bryant to adjust to the NBA game, which is true. The Lower Merion High School graduate played only 15.5 minutes per game as a rookie. Of course, he went on to make 18 All-Star Games, win five NBA championships and become one of the best players of his era. 

Though Stackhouse wanted to set the record straight on those one-on-one games with Bryant, he was still amazed by his ability at such a young age.

“This kid was unbelievable,” he said. “Just his ball handling ability … he grew up, obviously, emulating Michael Jordan.”

However, the members of the Philadelphia basketball community who were in the gym for those scrimmages were apparently ruthless in their critiques.

“I vividly remember the old heads from Philadelphia,” Stackhouse said, “[they're] like, ‘Come on, man, you gotta pass the ball! That ain’t how you gotta play!’” 

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Sixers fans can't stop laughing at Bulls for interviewing Bryan Colangelo

Sixers fans can't stop laughing at Bulls for interviewing Bryan Colangelo

Sixers fans, grasping at any semblance of basketball news, received a cruise ship-sized life line on Wednesday.

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported the Bulls have interviewed former 76ers president Bryan Colangelo for their top basketball ops position:

This is, of course, kind of a mind-boggling decision from the Bulls, considering the way Colangelo's bumpy tenure in Philly ended. 

You know, Burner-gate. Remember that insanity? Remember when the active general manager of the 76ers was linked to Twitter accounts actively disparaging his own players? That really happened!

And yet, despite the public unraveling of his time with the Sixers, and the unsavory nature of his resignation, the Bulls somehow deemed Colangelo worthy of an interview for this position as they try to kickstart their floundering franchise.

Sixers fans couldn't believe it:

Some laughed, and laughed, and laughed:

Some encouraged the insanity, because there's nothing Sixers fans love more than watching a tire fire form in real time:

And then, of course, Sixers Twitter came with the jokes, because they are ruthless and unceasing:

Colangelo actually landing the job is, admittedly, probably a long shot. But the fact that he could even garner an interview at this point in his career, and after his last stop, is both hilarious and confounding.

And Sixers fans are here for it, entirely.

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