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Warriors hold on despite DeRozan's 42 points

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Warriors hold on despite DeRozan's 42 points

TORONTO — After a huge first half, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors had to hold on late to wrap up their eighth straight win over Toronto.

Curry returned from a two-game absence to score 24 points, Klay Thompson had 26 and the Warriors blew nearly all of a 27-point lead before beating the Raptors 127-125 on Saturday night.

DeMar DeRozan scored 42 points for the Raptors, who made it a tight game after the Warriors rang up 81 points on 71.1 percent shooting in the first half.

"We expected that and we took that punch," Kevin Durant said of Toronto's comeback. "I'm glad we got the `W,' especially on the second night of a back-to-back."

The Warriors won at Milwaukee on Friday (see full recap).

Randle leads Lakers past Mavs in OT
DALLAS — With a matinee game in the middle of a road trip, Dallas native Julius Randle had a rare opportunity to enjoy a night off in his hometown.

He already had a good afternoon.

Randle had 23 points and 15 rebounds, including a follow shot late in overtime that helped the Los Angeles Lakers seal a 107-101 victory over the Mavericks on Saturday.

"Yeah, I'm going to enjoy it for sure," Randle said. "I've got my little man here, got my wife here, my family. I'm going to enjoy this night."

With his team leading 104-101, Randle grabbed a rebound on Lonzo Ball's missed jump shot and scored on the rebound with 18 seconds remaining, giving the Lakers a five-point lead they preserved to extend their winning streak to a season-best four games (see full recap).

Wizards win in OT despite surrending 23-point lead
WASHINGTON — After leading the Washington Wizards to their first overtime win of the season, John Wall remained frustrated that the late drama had been self-imposed.

Wall scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half and overtime, and tied a season high with 16 assists in the Wizards' 119-113 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.

Yet the perennial All-Star couldn't shake thoughts of his own performance, which also included eight turnovers, or that of a team that gave back a 23-point lead.

"The whole second half was just nasty for us, period," Wall said. "We have to do better. We have to do a lot better." (see full recap.)

Williams scores 26 points in Clippers' win
LOS ANGELES — Being .500 is hardly a team's goal, although with the kind of injury-wracked season the Clippers are having, it's somewhat of an accomplishment.

Lou Williams scored 26 points in the Clippers' 126-105 win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, giving Los Angeles a 21-21 mark at the season's midpoint.

"With all the guys that are out, we're just trying to hold the fort," coach Doc Rivers said.

Willie Reed added 14 points and 13 rebounds making his first start of the season in place of DeAndre Jordan, who has a sprained left ankle. Blake Griffin had 11 points and nine assists as one of eight Clippers in double figures.

Source: Sixers will acquire Mike Muscala, send away Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson in 3-team trade

Source: Sixers will acquire Mike Muscala, send away Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson in 3-team trade

The Sixers were involved in a trade with Carmelo Anthony.

Exhale, Sixers fans, Anthony is not coming here. Instead, Anthony is being shipped to the Hawks — who will likely waive the veteran forward — with a 2022 protected first-round pick for point guard Dennis Schroder, according to a report Thursday by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Sixers in turn will send Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Thunder and Justin Anderson to the Hawks to acquire Atlanta’s Mike Muscala, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.

Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania first reported the Sixers' side of the deal.

The move makes sense for the Sixers on a couple fronts. After missing out on Serbian forward Nemanja Bjelica, who reportedly agreed to a deal with the team and then backed out, Brett Brown gets a player with a similar skill set in Muscala. The former Bucknell star has great size (6-foot-11, 240 pounds) and the ability to shoot (37.8 percent from three for his career).

It also makes sense from a roster standpoint. The team had a bit of a logjam on the wing and had 16 players for 15 roster spots. By losing two players and getting only one back, the Sixers are now at 15 players under contract. That also includes Jerryd Bayless, who will likely be bought out or stretched, but does not include 2017 second-round pick Jonah Bolden or 2018 second-round pick Shake Milton.

Muscala had a career year for the lowly Hawks. He averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20 minutes a game — all career marks. He also hit 37.1 percent of his threes on 3.2 attempts. A second-round pick by the Mavericks in 2013, Muscala has spent all five of his NBA seasons in Atlanta.

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Sixers fans need to relax about team's offseason

Sixers fans need to relax about team's offseason

Here’s a brief message that some Sixers fans can use right now: relax.

Remember that you have a team with two budding superstars that reached the Eastern Conference semifinals just last season and should only be headed upward from here.

Sure, there’s going to be some level of disappointment when Brett Brown proclaimed the Sixers were going “star hunting” this summer only to come up empty on the free-agent market outside of re-signing their own players.

But, more than anything, how things transpired for the Sixers over the past few weeks should let you know that much more goes into landing a free agent than simply basketball.

Look at the first major domino to fall in free agency, Paul George. The five-time All-Star didn’t hesitate to make his decision and announced he was rejoining the Oklahoma City Thunder at a Russell Westbrook party shortly after midnight on July 1.

Despite the Sixers being in the mix for George, the Thunder always had the upper hand. The Thunder had George in the fold for a full year after acquiring him from Indiana last summer and used every day to convince him OKC was the right place to move forward.

“They honestly check the boxes where I needed those boxes to be checked from what a player wants and needs out of a front office, out of a medical group, out of teammates, out of coaching staff,” George said during exit interviews. “I mean, honestly, they can't say it anymore [than] that. They checked the boxes on what needs to be checked.”

Even with George on the market, the Sixers always had their top focus on the biggest available fish in the game: LeBron James. They even secured a meeting with James’ camp, albeit only with agent Rich Paul and not the three-time champion himself. 

Still, the Sixers, with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid leading the way, were serious contenders for James as Paul confirmed.

"The teams that he looked at, he looked at for guys like Ben Simmons,” Paul, who is also Simmons’ agent, said on NBA TV during a summer league game. “There's a reason why he looked at Philadelphia, but ultimately he chose the Lakers.”

And what ultimately made James join the Lakers, no matter what his representatives say to the contrary, had little to do with basketball. James has turned himself into an entertainment mogul, so who better to learn from than Magic Johnson? 

After all, King James reportedly already had dinner in Los Angeles last week with Al Pacino and Leonardo DiCaprio

We all love Philadelphia, but those types of Hollywood power brokers aren’t exactly making reservations for restaurants on Broad Street.

So the Sixers swung and missed on George for familiarity and James for off-court opportunities. 

Perhaps you can swallow missing out on two of the game’s best players, but now role players are spurning the franchise too? That’s enough to push a Sixers fan over the edge … until you dig a little bit deeper.

Nemanja Bjelica had his qualifying offer with the Minnesota Timberwolves rescinded and immediately jumped to the best situation for him when he reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Sixers.

However, Bjelica informed the team he was backing out of the deal and returning to Europe. That was until fellow Serbian and Kings general manager, Vlade Divac, came calling. Now the two sides are apparently deep in discussion on a multi-year contract.

Once you push through the initial wave of confusion, you find out that Bjelica simply didn’t want to move his family to Philadelphia for a year and be back on the hunt next summer. He was seeking what most of us do in a new job, which is stability. 

While that may seem a bit unreasonable for an NBA reserve big man, you can’t blame a guy for trying. And now it appears he may find some of what he desired in Sacramento.

Back here in Philadelphia, the Sixers are surely second-guessing what happened to their star hunt this offseason. While it came up empty-handed, the Sixers — and their fans — have to understand that so much more factors into securing a free agent than what actually takes place on the court and is not a red flag on the franchise.

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