76ers

A sweet 16 for the red-hot Rockets

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USA Today Images

A sweet 16 for the red-hot Rockets

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Chris Paul scored 25 points and the Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-112 on Tuesday night for their 16th straight win.

James Harden had 23 points and 11 assists, and Trevor Ariza added 15 points for the Rockets, who are on the second-longest win streak in franchise history.

Russell Westbrook scored 32 points and Carmelo Anthony added 23 for Oklahoma City, which is in a logjam of teams trying to fight their way into third place in the West.

Oklahoma City had beaten several of the league's top teams this season. The Thunder have two wins over Golden State, a victory over Toronto and a win over Cleveland this season. The Rockets avoided that fate by going 17 of 33 on 3-pointers and 29 of 34 on free throws.

The Rockets led 54-45 at halftime as Harden posted 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Anthony had 19 points for the Thunder and Westbrook had 14, but All-Star Paul George went 1 for 7 from the field before the break.

The Thunder closed the gap to three in the opening minutes of the third quarter, but the Rockets dominated the rest of the way and led 87-74 at the end of the period. Houston made 7 of 10 3-pointers in the quarter.

Houston extended its lead to 19 midway through the fourth quarter (see full recap).

Beal, Wizards catch fire from deep in OT victory
WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal scored 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting and the Washington Wizards had their best 3-point shooting night of the season in a 117-113 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.

Beal went 6 of 7 from beyond the arc, leading a Washington team that finished 14 for 24 there while snapping its first three-game losing streak of the season.

Tomas Satoransky added 19 points and Markieff Morris had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Morris' baseline 3-pointer off Beal's feed made it 113-109 with 1:06 left in overtime.

The fifth-place Wizards improved to 11-6 in their extended stretch without All-Star point guard John Wall as he recovers from knee surgery. They moved within a half-game of Indiana and maintained a one-game lead on Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference.

Dwyane Wade scored 22 points but missed on a potential game-tying jumper with 4.1 seconds left in overtime for Miami.

Tyler Johnson added 21 points for the Heat, who lost for the second time in six games to fall back into eighth place, a half-game behind Milwaukee (see full recap).

Raptors run over Hawks for 5th straight win
TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 and the Toronto Raptors beat the Atlanta Hawks 106-90 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight win.

C.J. Miles added 14 points, and Delon Wright and Serge Ibaka each had 10 as the Eastern Conference leaders won for the 12th time in 13 games and completed their first season sweep of the Hawks since 2001-02.

The Raptors are 27-5 at home, the best record in the NBA. Toronto, which trailed by one to begin the fourth quarter, improved to 4-16 when behind through three.

Toronto outscored Atlanta 30-13 in the fourth. The Hawks shot 6 for 18 in the quarter and committed eight turnvoers.

Kent Bazemore and John Collins each scored 15 points and Dewayne Dedmon had 12 points and 10 rebounds, but the Hawks lost for the sixth time in eight games.

The Hawks are 5-26 on the road (see full recap).

We finally have footage of Markelle Fultz's rebuilt jump shot

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The Players Triune/Facebook Watch

We finally have footage of Markelle Fultz's rebuilt jump shot

No more cryptic Instagram posts. No more Zapruder-type videos.

On Thursday, Markelle Fultz gave us a glimpse of his much-anticipated jumper via an interview with the Denver Nuggets’ Isaiah Thomas for The Player’s Tribune.

The biggest takeaway? What a huge improvement from anything we saw last season.

It’s certainly encouraging, but there are still things we need to see. All of those shots were set shots off the catch. We still need to see him shooting off the dribble, at the free throw line and in game situations.

During an almost 20-minutes conversation with I.T., Fultz talked about the injury that affected his shot. He dealt with a scapular muscle imbalance, which was finally diagnosed in late October after a weird start to the season.

The biggest question involving Fultz is whether the shot change caused the injury or the change occurred because of the injury. Fultz gave a clear answer.

“There was a lot of things going about changing shots and all this, but there was an injury there,” Fultz said. “For me, I’m a hooper so I was like ‘this ain’t going to stop me.’ Once I realized I really couldn’t do stuff to my full capacity, I was like ‘it really is something’ so I had to find out what it was and we did that throughout the season.

“It took a long time, which people really didn’t understand. They thought I was just being soft but it was really an injury. And now I got a chance to just sit down and pick apart all these doctors – we figured it out and I’ve been back to work this summer and everything’s even better than what it was.”

Fultz was the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 and for good reason. He had a stellar one-and-done season with Washington. The Sixers traded up to acquire the rights to select Fultz, primarily because of his fit with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Part of that fit centered around Fultz’s jumper.

When Fultz got hurt, all of that changed. He played in just 14 games and struggled in his limited playoff action. The team won 52 games and a playoff series with him mostly as a spectator.

Now fully healthy, Fultz has spent the summer in L.A. working with training guru Drew Hanlen, who’s worked with Embiid and Jayson Tatum, among others. The work appears to be paying off.

“Sixers fans are gonna get somebody that’s going to come in and play hard,” Fultz said. “I think I’m going to be that guy that’s going to be able to create shots for himself and his teammates. That guy at the end of the game when you need a bucket – you don’t really have to call a play. I’m going to get out there on defense. Most people don’t know I like to block shots so I’m going to be a big point guard out there.”

You can check out the full video here.

More on the Sixers

Get to know Serena Winters, NBC Sports Philadelphia's new Sixers reporter

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NBC Sports

Get to know Serena Winters, NBC Sports Philadelphia's new Sixers reporter

Please give a warm welcome to Serena Winters, NBC Sports Philadelphia's new multiplatform Sixers reporter. Serena will join Marc Zumoff and Alaa Abdelnaby on all Sixers telecasts, and she will cover the team across all of NBC Sports Philadelphia's digital platforms. You can follow her on Twitter @SerenaWinters, and you can hear from her in her own words below!

***

When I was in high school, my mom and I were in the car talking about colleges, and my mom asked the typical question: "Have you thought about what you want to do with your career, honey?"

At the time, I was a three-sport athlete, playing basketball, golf and track and field. Basketball was always my first love. I remember being the only girl on a boys team at the Boys & Girls Club in my elementary school days and thinking, "I’m going to be the first woman in the NBA!"

Fast forward to that car ride with my mom, and I knew deep down I wasn’t going to make it as a professional athlete. I loved basketball, but I wasn’t getting recognized by any D-1 schools. I loved golf, but I knew my bogey talents were more suited for Sundays with friends. And despite being pretty darn speedy on those 200M curves, I’m pretty sure I peaked as a freshman. 

So there we sat. I was coming back from a Model United Nations conference (similar to a debate team), and I was getting pretty good at the whole public speaking thing. I loved it actually. 

And my mom said, "Well, have you thought about sports broadcasting?"

Have you ever had that *light bulb just went on* in your head moment? I’ve only had one, and that was it for me.

I attended UC Santa Barbara, volunteering for the sports radio station before I even took my first class, and interning for the Lakers by my senior year. After graduation, it was a mix of valeting cars to pay the bills and a lot of working for free (I really put that college degree to use right off the bat). 

Then came Lakers Nation, and a few years later I joined the Lakers' TV network as a reporter. Earlier this year, I left the Lakers to join the NBC Sports family at NBC Sports Northwest, hosting my own show. From covering the Trail Blazers to riding in IndyCars, it’s an experience I will never forget.

This summer, NBC Sports Philadelphia came calling, and the opportunity to be back working in the sport I grew up loving, with a team that I’ve watched and admired over the past several years, was something I couldn’t help but smile about. I visited the Philadelphia 76ers headquarters. I met with Brett Brown, and I stood out on the second floor overlooking the practice gym. It was then that I got that gut feeling that you always hope for when making a big decision. That gut feeling said this is where I’m supposed to be, working for all of you, the fans, and bringing you the very best coverage of your favorite basketball team, in the best damn sports city in the world. 

All I ask of you is to give me the chance to make you proud to say that you have the best coverage of any NBA team in the Association. This is your team, and I want to cover your team in the best possible way. I can’t wait to get to work, and if you see me around, please say hi!