Sixers pull out the fire extinguishers at home

Sixers pull out the fire extinguishers at home


The Sixers snapped the Wizards’ five-game winning streak Tuesday with a 115-102 victory. 

The Wizards had been playing surprisingly well in the absence of All-Star guard John Wall, who underwent arthroscopic left knee surgery at the end of January. That was until they came to the Wells Fargo Center.

Bradley Beal's 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists were not enough to counter a 27-point, 12-rebound double-double from Joel Embiid and another 20 points and seven boards from Dario Saric. Embiid reached 20 points for the 30th time this season.

“You just beat a team that was hot,” Brett Brown said. “They'd won five games in a row, their style of play when you study them during that five-game stretch was really impressive. They shared the ball, they ran with great pace and they guarded.”

• The Sixers sprinted out to an early first-quarter lead as Wizards not named Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris struggled to score. The opening quarter included an alley-oop from T.J. McConnell to Jerryd Bayless and threes by McConnell and Amir Johnson.

• There were more third-quarter ups and downs. The Sixers committed turnovers on three consecutive possessions in the third. During that quarter, the Wizards, led by 11 points from Beal, cut the Sixers’ lead from 19 to seven. The Sixers committed 17 turnovers (leading to 22 Wizards’ points) on the night.

“We just wanted to come out and be aggressive, especially after the bad one we had against Indiana,” Embiid said. “We just wanted to be aggressive, especially defensively.”

• The Wizards didn’t go away in the fourth. They got within eight with four minutes to play. The Sixers pulled away on a 10-3 run to hold on for the game in which they led by as many as 22 points. 

• The Sixers have the rare opportunity to play five straight home games leading up to the All-Star break. The team is focused on maximizing the rare schedule, especially as it faces Eastern Conference competitors Wizards and Heat. 

“Coach talked about that,” Saric said. “After we finished with the meeting, he put on the screen, 'Four more, guys.' It's important in that situation. Playing four games at home in front of our fans, in front of the crazy energy from the Super Bowl. We need it, we need it. We really need to be focused for the four games and try to win. I think if we win before [the All-Star break], we get better as we go on and be ready for the last part of the season.”

• The Super Bowl champions were in the building. Members of the Eagles' offensive line rang the ceremonial bell to kick off the game.

Sixers 2017-18 player evaluation: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

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Sixers 2017-18 player evaluation: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

Position: Guard/Forward

Status for 2018-19: Third year of rookie deal ($1,446,360)

Luwawu-Cabarrot in 2017-18
After a strong finish to his rookie campaign, there was an opportunity for Luwawu-Cabarrot to take on a decent role this season. Unfortunately, patellar tendinitis kept the French guard from joining his national team during the summer and slowed him up in training camp.

When newcomer JJ Redick missed seven games because of back issues, TLC stepped in and actually played pretty well to start. In the first four games of that stretch, Luwawu-Cabarrot averaged 14.5 points and shot a ridiculous 15 of 26 (57 percent) from three. The next three contests didn’t go as well before Redick came back to claim his starting spot.

During the back half of the season, Luwawu-Cabarrot struggled to get minutes and also had his knee issues resurface. They lingered for the rest of the season, as the 23-year-old missed the final 17 games of the regular season and all of the playoffs.

For the season, Luwawu-Cabarrot averaged 5.8 points in 15.5 minutes a contest in 52 games (seven starts).

Signature game
During that seven-game stretch, Luwawu-Cabarrot’s best game came during a disappointing loss on the road in Memphis. The Sixers lost by four, but Luwawu-Cabarrot had one of the better games of his career, pouring in 20 points and hitting 6 of 8 from three. The six treys were a career high.

Looking ahead to 2018-19
This certainly wasn’t the season the Sixers were looking for out of Luwawu-Cabarrot after he looked so promising to close out his rookie season. Was the young Frenchman still feeling the effects of patellar tendonitis or was he simply unable to carve out a role?

He just turned 23, is a great athlete and has shown flashes with his jumper. He’s still a very cheap option for the Sixers over the next two seasons. The Sixers will need decent players with low price tags if they’re able to add a superstar. 

Luwawu-Cabarrot will get another chance to crack the Sixers’ rotation. If he falters, there will be options. Justin Anderson will be one of the players he’ll be fighting for minutes with along with fellow 2016 first-round pick Furkan Korkmaz, who had injury issues of his own. If none of those players can provide what the Sixers need, look for Bryan Colangelo to be aggressive at the trade deadline and/or with the buyout market.

On Luwawu-Cabarrot
“I’ll probably come here, fight for my role. The perfect thing would be coming off the bench, play hard, play for the team, have good minutes.”

 -Luwawu-Cabarrot on his expectations for next season

Sixers 2017-18 player evaluation: JJ Redick

Sixers 2017-18 player evaluation: JJ Redick

JJ Redick

Position: Shooting guard

Status for 2018-19: Unrestricted free agent

Redick in 2017-18
It’s OK to admit it now. When you first heard how much the Sixers were giving Redick on the free-agent market last summer, you were a bit alarmed. 

Sure, Redick was always going to be a valuable addition, and the fact that a big-time player chose to join the Sixers was a huge feather in their cap. But paying him $23 million — the sixth-highest mark among NBA two guards in 2017-18 and the 25th-largest sum in the entire league — is a huge investment, even if it was for only one season.

However, the Sixers made it clear that they were finally ready to contend, and getting the best possible fit in free agency was a top priority. In Redick’s case, his game meshed with the Sixers like a glove.

The 33-year-old had arguably his best season as a pro. Redick scored a career-high 17.1 points per game on 46.0 percent shooting from the field and 42.0 percent from three. He also contributed 3.0 assists a night and a personal-best 2.5 boards.

Redick, an up-and-down playoff performer to this point in his career, made the most of his postseason stint with the Sixers. He upped his scoring average to 18.2 points a contest and topped the 20-point plateau in five of the team’s 10 playoff games.

Of course, Redick’s defensive deficiencies showed at times throughout the season, but his dead-eye shooting from long range and veteran leadership more than made up for those issues.

Signature game
Redick had plenty of highlights to choose from this past season. In just his eighth game with the team, he went bonkers from beyond the arc late in a 121-110 win over the Indiana Pacers. Redick finished that night with 31 points (eight three-pointers), six assists and three rebounds.

The marksman also contributed another eight-trey performance in a 130-111 victory over his former team, the Orlando Magic, on Nov. 25.

Still, Redick’s best showing of the season came when it mattered most. With the Sixers threatening to advance in the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, he took things into his own hands as he scored a game-high 27 in the team’s series-sealing win over the Miami Heat in Game 5. Not to be denied, the typical jump shooter got to the free throw line 10 times and made each of them to propel the Sixers into the next round.

Looking ahead
You know the situation by now. Redick has stated several times that he wants to be back in Philadelphia, but it’s much more complicated than a simple desire.

First, the Sixers plan to go superstar-hunting in the offseason with the main target being LeBron James. That would almost certainly mean Redick would be shown the door. To his credit, Redick admitted that if a team has the chance to land James, it has to take that opportunity (see story).

Secondly, even if the Sixers swing and miss on James, the numbers to get Redick back in a Sixers uniform could be tricky. He will certainly be looking for a multi-year deal and his numbers suggest he deserves one, but how many years and how many millions are the franchise willing to give a shooting guard who will be 34 when next season tips off?

On Redick
“I don’t want to offend any of the other places I’ve been or teams I’ve been on, but this was probably my favorite year of my career. Playing in Philly is its own experience. Our fans, the city, the buzz about sports and about this team was amazing. I think I said this on media day, it’s the first time I’ll ever play in a real sports town. That definitely lived up to those thoughts. It was awesome to play in Philly.”

- Redick on his experience playing in Philadelphia