76ers

A sweet 16 for the red-hot Rockets

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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).

Brett Brown calls out Sixers' turnover problem: 'Until we fix this, this is a house built on sand'

Brett Brown calls out Sixers' turnover problem: 'Until we fix this, this is a house built on sand'

Brett Brown has been asked about turnovers many times during his six-plus years as head coach of the Sixers. They are a concern, he has acknowledged often. 

“Our turnovers continue to haunt us and we can’t let it go,” he said in December of 2016.

“It is on me, and it keeps us up late at night,” he admitted a little over a year later.

On March 13, 2018, Brown said of the Sixers’ turnover woes, “As a team, we have to get better. Some of it I have to own.”

So, in one sense, what Brown had to say Sunday night about the Sixers’ turnovers shouldn’t be shocking. He hasn’t shirked away from this problem. And, for the most part, it’s been an issue that’s gnawed at the Sixers throughout his tenure. The team has finished either 29th or 30th in turnovers in the NBA every season under Brown besides last year, when they were 25th. After recording 20 turnovers Sunday in a 114-106 win over the Hornets, the 6-3 Sixers are last in the league with 18.8 turnovers per game. But Brown’s comments Sunday were perhaps as impassioned as we’ve heard him on the subject.

This is what I tell the team: Until we can fix this, this is a house built on sand. It is fool’s gold. And we have to find a discipline and a better way to control that. Because the turnovers in the first half, some of them were live ball, a lot of them were just getting things batted out of our hands. We can’t fool ourselves — this is a problem. This is a problem. And we need to own it. I’m the head coach, I’ve gotta find a way to fix it. There needs to be a level of accountability with the players. And that’s that. It’s not anything that we take lightly — we don’t dismiss it. The times are over when you’re looking at some of the young guys and you can justify it. You can’t do that anymore. It’s time that we get better at that. And the players know it. They understand it. But we better fix it.

Like in years past, there are a variety of reasons the Sixers have committed this volume of turnovers. Joel Embiid inflated the number by coughing it up eight times in the Mile High City. There are two new starters in Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris, and some new players coming off the bench. As Brown said, though, youth is no longer a good excuse. 

“That’s definitely our biggest flaw right now,” Richardson said. “I think sometimes we get careless. And I think sometimes we get too unselfish, too. On possessions where you get a decent look and pass it up and then we end up turning it over. It’s like, could we really have gotten a better look at it? But I think that’s a good problem to have. I think we’ve just gotta watch the film and figure out what we’re doing wrong outside of that.”

It’s possible to turn the ball over a lot and still go far as a team. Last year, Monty Williams — at the time an assistant with the Sixers, now the head coach of the Suns — noted that “being in the top five or even the top 10 in turnovers does not guarantee you success.” 

The Sixers have mitigated some of their turnovers by being the best offensive rebounding team in the league. They’re also forcing 16.8 turnovers per game, over four more than they did in 2018-19. The turnovers hurt, but perhaps not as badly as they would for a team also losing possessions in those other categories. 

“That’s been our biggest thing this year,” Tobias Harris said. “A lot of them have just come from — like myself today, I had two travels in the beginning. We’re going to find each other and our spots and how we want to play, things we can do to execute better. If we can just limit to half of those, protect the ball a little bit better, I think that will help us out a whole lot.”

Cutting their turnovers in half would lead the Sixers to be the best in the league at taking care of the ball, so that’s likely not a realistic goal. But Harris’ overall point is fair. It’s not this simple, but if the Sixers could, in each game, eliminate an unforced turnover, an excessively unselfish turnover, and a “new guys getting used to each other” turnover, that would go a long way. 

The NBA started officially recording turnovers in the 1977-78 season. No team has both led the league in turnovers and won an NBA title since then. 

“I think a lot of them were guys mean[ing] well and trying to make certain reads,” Horford said. “We’re just not necessarily clicking how we need to be. Maybe some plays are there … we’re just getting to know each other. Also, we have to be more conscious about taking care of the ball. I believe that as the season goes on, we’ll be fine.”

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Sixers' Josh Richardson opens up about mental health: 'It's tough to dig yourself out of that hole'

Sixers' Josh Richardson opens up about mental health: 'It's tough to dig yourself out of that hole'

After being traded from the Miami Heat to the Sixers this summer, Josh Richardson admitted he was in a "hole" with his mental health.

“It’s one of those things you constantly have to think about," Richardson said. "You have to consciously stay on your mental health, because if you don’t, you can look up and you’re depressed or you’re just not in the right state of mind. I’ve seen guys succumb to that. It’s tough to dig yourself out of that hole. I was there, to be honest. I was there this summer for a while. I got a therapist and I’ve been trying to work that out."

In an open interview, which you can watch above, Richardson discussed the challenges of being diligent about mental health in the highly competitive environment of the NBA, and explained why he tries to “embrace the negative.”

NBC Sports Regional Networks has launched a multi-platform campaign on mental health and men's health, HeadStrong: Mental Health and Sports, for the month of November. You can find more information about the initiative here

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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