Summer League: Sixers fail again to fend off Jayson Tatum, Celtics

Summer League: Sixers fail again to fend off Jayson Tatum, Celtics

LAS VEGAS -- The Sixers’ second-half comeback fell short as the Celtics won Tuesday’s game, 88-83.

The Sixers trailed by as many as 12 in the first half. They fought back from a seven-point halftime deficit to outscore the Celtics 25-11 in the third quarter. The Celtics quickly erased the Sixers’ lead, though, early in the fourth. 

The teams were tied with three minutes to play. Jayson Tatum put the Celtics up 81-77 on a driving basket to beat the shot clock. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot drew a foul but only made one free throw. Semi Ojeleye put the game away with a three-point play.

The Sixers fell to 1-2 in Las Vegas while the Celtics improved to 3-0. 

Inside the box score
• Luwawu-Cabarrot led all players with 16 points along with six rebounds.

• Tatum and Jabari Bird scored 15 points each for the Celtics.

• Ante Zizic posted 12 points and 13 rebounds.

• Jonah Bolden scored 13 points with eight boards.

• Jaylen Brown scored his seven points in the first quarter. Brown later exited the game with a thigh injury.

• Furkan Korkmaz struggled, shooting 2 for 7 from the field (5 points). 

• Melo Trimble scored 13 points off the bench (3 for 5 from three). 

• Mathias Lessort, the 50th overall pick by the Sixers in last month’s draft, received FIBA clearance the morning of the game and made his summer league debut Tuesday. He posted four points, four rebounds, one steal, one block and four fouls in 12 minutes. 

Big man battle
The Sixers didn’t have a defensive answer for the 6-foot-11 center Zizic. They started Bolden at the five, but Zizic had a 20-pound advantage and easily grabbed a double-double. That matchup was interesting to watch as Zizc is a traditional big man and Bolden was stretching the floor knocking down threes. 

Third-quarter tumble
Andrew Harrison and Landen Lucas got tangled up in the third. Harrison looked as if he threw Lucas to the ground on defense. After Tatum scored on the same play, Lucas stepped over Harrison’s head as Harrison stood up. Harrison grabbed Lucas, who fell to the ground. Harrison was issued a technical foul. 

Sixers sightings
Robert Covington, Justin Anderson and Jerryd Bayless were on hand for the game. 

Up next
The Sixers received the No. 18 seed in the tournament portion of play and will face the 15th-seeded Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night (10:30 p.m./ESPN2).

Sixers rookie Landry Shamet, Shake Milton receive good (!) injury news

Sixers rookie Landry Shamet, Shake Milton receive good (!) injury news

Finally, some good health news, Sixers fans.

While Zhaire Smith continues an unfortunate trend of Sixers’ rookies suffering injuries, two other 2018 draft picks are progressing.

First-round pick Landry Shamet (sprained right ankle) and second-round pick Shake Milton (stress fracture in his back) are both asymptomatic, the team said Monday.

Shamet has been cleared for “light basketball activities” while Milton can “resume limited basketball activities.”

Shamet, a guard out of Wichita State, got banged up in the first half of the Sixers’ first summer league game against the Celtics. Shamet logged just 12 minutes before suffering the ankle sprain. He hit 2 of 5 from three for six points during the stint.

Milton never got the opportunity to play in summer league having suffered his injury during the pre-draft process. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward out of SMU is on a two-way contract with the Sixers, meaning he’ll spend the majority of his season with the Delaware Blue Coats and can spend no more 45 days with the big club.

Smith, the 16th overall pick acquired in a draft-night trade with the Suns, suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot and underwent successful surgery last week. There’s been no timetable for his return.

Both Shamet and Milton offer something the Sixers covet: shooting. Shamet shot 44 percent on 5.1 threes a game in 71 games. Milton was also proficient, shooting 43 percent on 5.1 attempts from distance in 87 games.

The Sixers’ rotation should be a tough one to crack this season, but being healthy for camp would be a fine start for Shamet and Milton.

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Despite Jamal Crawford's praise, Sixers should be wary of signing veteran free agent

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Despite Jamal Crawford's praise, Sixers should be wary of signing veteran free agent

Despite coming up empty in their goal of star hunting this summer, the Sixers are still currently one of the more desirable franchises in the NBA.

They reached the second round of the playoffs last season behind two up-and-coming stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Plus, the organization has a respected head coach in Brett Brown, state-of-the-art training complex, an intense fan base and much more to offer.

At least that’s how free-agent scorer Jamal Crawford views things.

“I like their city. I like how into it they are about basketball. I like their knowledge of basketball, how passionate they are,” Crawford said of Philadelphia last week to Brandon Robinson on Scoop B Radio. “I’ve always loved coach Brett Brown. I’ve been on record. I’ve been a fan of his for years. He just needed talent, and now he has that. He added Ben Simmons, I love his game. I love Jo-Jo. They’re both among my favorite players in the league to watch. Markelle (Fultz) is like a little brother to me. Obviously, he went to the University of Washington, and we talk every other day. JJ Redick is like a brother to me. We’ve been through wars together, so there’s so many things to love about Philadelphia for sure.”

That’s high praise from a three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner. High enough to the point that he would want to suit up for the Sixers?

“I think for me, especially being out there as a free agent, something could work out,” Crawford said. “I would be honored to play there, but things obviously have to take its course and I kind of got to sit back, but who wouldn’t want to play there?”

Well, that cleared things up. 

Now the Sixers, in a new position with players openly offering their services to them, have to be clear too: Crawford isn’t the answer.

No, not “The Answer” although Crawford does have some legendary crossover moves of his own. The 18-year veteran simply isn’t the right fit for this Sixers squad.

For all of Crawford’s accomplishments over nearly two decades in the NBA, the 38-year-old has been on a steady decline. His scoring has dropped in each of the past five years until he posted 10.3 points a night last season with Minnesota, his lowest mark since he averaged 10.7 a night way back in 2002-03.

While Crawford attributed his struggles with the Timberwolves to limited minutes, that doesn’t have anything to do with his efficiency or lack thereof. Crawford shot 41.5 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from three-point range in 2017-18. Those numbers aren’t outliers either as he has career averages of 41.0 percent field goal shooting and 34.9 percent three-point shooting.

And it’s not just the scoring itself. It’s also how Crawford scores the ball. Even though he received only 20.7 minutes per game with the T-Wolves, Crawford was 13th in the entire league in isolation frequency with 19.8 percent of his possessions coming in a one-on-one setting. For comparison, Simmons was the highest Sixer in isolation frequency at 9.0 percent (87th in the NBA).

It’s understandable the Sixers might be still be looking to replace the veteran scoring off the bench lost by the departures of Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova, but Crawford’s game doesn’t exactly scream the pace-and-space mantra preached by the club.

That just shows how Crawford isn’t an ideal fit offensively. We won’t even get into the defensive end of the court (*cough* Crawford had a defensive rating of 112.9 last season, which means opponents averaged that many points per 100 possessions he was on the floor, good enough for 490th out of 523 total players *cough*).

Crawford does still have a place in the league. He’s a volume scorer that can potentially get hot on any given night and pour in 30 points. He’s also great in the locker room, a reason he took home Teammate of the Year award in '17-18.

But with the above signs of decline as well as T.J. McConnell and a rejuvenated Markelle Fultz penciled in as the Sixers’ reserve backcourt, there might not be the opportunity in Philadelphia that Crawford is seeking out.

Part of the Sixers now being desired is having the power in their hands. This might be a perfect time to use that to their advantage and ignore Crawford’s interest.

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