76ers

Terry Rozier steals show in East showdown

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Terry Rozier steals show in East showdown

BOSTON -- Terry Rozier scored 20 points in 20 minutes, stealing the spotlight from LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas in a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals and leading the Boston Celtics to a 102-88 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Rozier scored the last eight Boston points of the first quarter to give the Celtics an 11-point lead, and had another eight in a row midway through the fourth when they expanded the lead to 21. Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum had 15 points apiece, and Irving and Al Horford each had 11 points and nine rebounds to help Boston to its fourth straight win.

James had 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Tristan Thompson had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland, which lost for the fourth time in five games. Playing on back-to-back nights -- the Celtics had been preparing for them since New Year's Eve -- Cleveland shot 34.8 percent.

It was the first time the teams had played since the season opener, when top Boston free-agent Gordon Hayward broke his leg and in a gruesome injury that reshuffled the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Celtics finished with the top seed last year, but lost in the conference finals to Cleveland (see full recap).

Beal, Wall spark Wizards’ win over Knicks
WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal scored 27 points, John Wall added 25 with nine assists and the Washington Wizards beat the New York Knicks 121-103 on Wednesday night.

Playing for the first time since he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Beal followed his 39-point outburst on Sunday by hitting 11 of his 14 field goal attempts for Washington, which was won five of six.

Marcin Gortat had a season-high 21 points, making 9 of 10 from the field.

Michael Beasley had 20 points, including 16 in the second half to lead the Knicks, who have lost six of seven.

Kristips Porzingis scored 16 points. New York has lost 14 of its last 15 to Washington (see full recap).

Harden-less Rockets roll over Magic
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Gerald Green scored 27 points, Clint Capela had 21 points and eight rebounds and the Houston Rockets got by without NBA scoring leader James Harden, routing the Orlando Magic 116-98 on Wednesday night.

Harden was sidelined by a strained left hamstring.

Green made his first five 3-point shots and finished 7 for 10 from behind the arc for the Rockets, who were never behind and led by as many as 28 late in the third quarter.

Eric Gordon added 17 points and six assists to help Houston tune up for its Thursday night showdown with the Golden State Warriors.

Aaron Gordon led the Magic with 16 points after missing his first eight shots. Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja added 14 each in Orlando's 12th loss on 13 games.

The Magic (12-27) missed 16 of their first 18 shots and fell behind by 15 points before the end of the first quarter. A scoring burst by Hezonja kept them in the game in the second quarter but they could get no closer than nine (see full recap).

Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as second female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

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Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as second female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

The Sixers have made a historic hire in their scouting department.

The team has hired former WNBA star Lindsey Harding as a full-time scout starting next season. 

"I think when you have this goal in mind, your gender shouldn't even matter," Harding told ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne. "It should be about if you can do it, if you're good, you're experienced, if you know what you're doing and what you're talking about."

Harding, a Duke product and the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 WNBA draft, is just the second woman to be hired by an NBA team as a scout after a career in the WNBA. Jenny Boucek, who is now an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, was the first former WNBA player to be hired as a scout back in 2006 by the Seattle SuperSonics. Becky Hammon, one of Harding's former opponents who urged Harding to pursue this path, was hired as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Hammon has since been interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks' GM job and been promoted to Gregg Popovich's top assistant.

Harding completed the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season after retiring in 2017. The 34-year-old guard spent nine seasons in the WNBA and represented Belarus in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

"Lindsey has quickly become one of the game's bright young minds in basketball operations," Sixers head coach and interim GM Brett Brown said to Shelbourne. "Having graduated from the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season, Lindsey is applying the same grit and basketball IQ she used as a player in her move to the front office. We look forward to the work Lindsey will do to help grow our program and further solidify a culture of winning.

"It's no secret how much I value the culture we've built in Philadelphia and how much a family-like atmosphere means to our program. Lindsey is a leader, and she is a welcomed addition to the 76ers family. I look forward to working with her."

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Metta World Peace tweets that Joel Embiid will win MVP next season

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Metta World Peace tweets that Joel Embiid will win MVP next season

Joel Embiid didn’t wait long to share his expectations for next season.

“This is my first year going into a summer healthy and I’m excited about it. I feel like next year is definitely going to be a type of MVP season for me,” Embiid said during the Sixers’ exit interviews just one day after being eliminated from the playoffs.

The summer months haven’t done much to curb the All-Star center’s enthusiasm.

“I want to win the MVP because if I play better I think the stats show that my team plays better too,” Embiid said during an interview with KweséESPN prior to this month’s NBA Africa Game. “That’s the goal. I’ve got to set the bar high if you want to go somewhere.”

You can’t blame the man for being confident in himself. And now Embiid even has the support of a former colorful NBA player in his own right.

Metta World Peace (or Tru Warier or The Panda’s Friend or Ron Artest) sent out a simple tweet earlier this week.

That’s about as cut and dry as you can get. Although World Peace did have another hot take this week that might call his crystal ball skills into question.

Whoa. You lost us on that one, World Peace.

Embiid has a much better chance at earning MVP honors than those two teams (mainly the Knicks) have of reaching the Eastern Conference finals. In Bovada's MVP odds released this week, the center came in at 16/1 (seventh best) to win the award.

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