Brooklyn Nets

Sixers pair Simmons, Fultz briefly in NBA-best 11th straight win

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Sixers pair Simmons, Fultz briefly in NBA-best 11th straight win

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The Sixers drafted Markelle Fultz at No. 1 with the vision of pairing him with Ben Simmons. That plan was sidelined by Fultz’s long-term shoulder injury. 

Now that Fultz is back, the Sixers have the opportunity to experiment with the one-two backcourt combination before the playoffs.

Fultz and Simmons shared the floor Tuesday for 3½ minutes during the Sixers’ 121-95 over the Nets (see observations)

“It felt great,” Fultz said. “He’s a great player, obviously a point guard, he can do multiple things, pass the ball well and it felt good to get a little taste out there with him.”

Brett Brown was pleased with the pace and ball movement when they played together. During their time on the court, Fultz scored four points and both players dished an assist. 

“I do like what I saw,” Brown said. “I thought they did ‘simple’ well.”

The guards fed off each other. Simmons said Fultz’s slashing and rebounding abilities are a bonus for him. 

“The way he sees the floor, I think it's similar to my court vision, which is a lot of fun to play with,” Simmons said. “Having somebody who can run the floor and get to the rim and make plays, it makes it a lot easier for me.”

Simmons recorded his 36th double-double with 15 points, 12 rebounds and six assists (see highlights). Fultz posted 10 points, two rebounds and two dimes in 20 minutes. 

“I think it’s going to be hard to guard that, two guys that can run the floor, push the ball up, and we play really well off each other,” Fultz said. “You’ve got two guys that are going to create and look for other guys and also that can get their own.”

There is a caveat to this pairing. Brown said he is “acutely aware” of the need to surround both Fultz and Simmons with shooters. If he feels like it is not beneficial to the team and could hinder winning, it’s not going to continue while the team fights for home-court advantage. 

“I’m not in the mood to go bananas experimenting on stuff,” Brown said before the game. “And if it contradicts or doesn’t feel right, it’s too risky, the game is not in a position that makes me feel comfortable, I’m not doing it.”

Sixers smother Nets to push win streak to 11 straight

Sixers smother Nets to push win streak to 11 straight

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Make it 11.

The Sixers continued their winning streak with a 121-95 victory over the Nets Tuesday in their return home to the Wells Fargo Center.

The team rallied once again without Joel Embiid (orbital fracture, concussion) and Dario Saric (right elbow cellulitis). Both will miss Wednesday’s game in Detroit as well, but Brett Brown expects Saric to play Friday against the Cavaliers. 

• Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz played together, a combination Brown wanted to get a look at as long as “we’re not hurting the team.” The concern: both guards have been best suited when surrounded by shooters. Simmons and Fultz shared the court for 3½ minutes, with Simmons bringing the ball up and oftentimes quickly finding Fultz. During that period, Fultz scored four points. Both players dished an assist. Simmons recorded his 36th double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds, six assists). Fultz finished with 10 points, two rebounds and two dimes in 20 minutes. 

• It was a team win for the Sixers. No player scored over 20 points, eight were in double digits. Ersan Ilyasova posted 11 points and 13 boards as the starting power forward. Redick dropped a team-high 19 points and Marco Belinelli was right behind him with 17 on the second unit. 

• Former Sixers Jahlil Okafor (15) and Nik Stauskas (13) combined for 28 points off the Nets’ bench. Okafor also grabbed five rebounds amid boos from the crowd. Neither have had a major role with the Nets since being traded from the Sixers earlier in the season. 

• Saric certainly was in attendance: 

• Earlier in the day, the Sixers unveiled a statue for Julius Erving at their training complex in Camden, New Jersey. Erving also rang the ceremonial bell before the game. 

Allen Iverson gives Sixers all he has from crowd in comeback

Allen Iverson gives Sixers all he has from crowd in comeback

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Allen Iverson intently watched the Sixers pull out a 120-116 win over the Nets Friday standing on the court of the Wells Fargo Center (see observations)

After the buzzer sounded, he gave an impromptu postgame press conference as he walked through the room where Brett Brown addresses the media. 

“I’m very familiar with this right here,” Iverson said, laying his hand on the podium. 

When the topic of his desire to get in the game and still play came up, the 42-year-old Hall of Famer replied, “I always want to help, but I’m too old to help. I can’t help no more … I can’t play no more. “The Answer” has gone to heaven and Allen Iverson is still here.” 

Iverson was very much a part of the game from the sidelines. He stood during the final stretch in the fourth quarter, enthusiastically reacted to calls, and high-fived fans as the Sixers closed out the victory in the final seconds. 

“It’s awesome,” Ben Simmons said. “He wants us to win. He’s behind us. He can obviously see we have a lot of potential, which is awesome coming from him.” 

Iverson made a request about the Sixers, who at 38-30 are chasing a return to the playoffs and possibly home-court advantage. 

“Treat my ‘little dudes,’” Iverson said with air quotes, referencing how he described the players in an interview last week, “treat them right and give them a chance.”

The Sixers noticed Iverson's encouragement. 

“I saw him, I saw the support,” Joel Embiid said. “I like it. Like he said, we are his little dudes. I appreciate the support.”