Mike Scott makes late-game mistake, but shows his value to playoff-bound Sixers

Mike Scott makes late-game mistake, but shows his value to playoff-bound Sixers

Mike Scott’s foul on Kevin Durant with 35 seconds left was inexplicable.

Scott knows it. The Sixers had time to play defense while down just three, but instead, the Sixers had a couple late-game issues and lost to the Warriors, 120-117, on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations).

“Shouldn’t have happened,” Brett Brown said postgame on Scott’s foul. “Whether you need a three on a sideline, whether you’re trying to miss a free throw and position people around, whether you want a foul or don’t-you-foul type stuff, even though these guys are great players, have been around the league a long time, every coaching staff is sort of different. 

“Some of it isn’t their fault and it’s nobody’s fault. It’s just the fact that we’ve been with each other for a minute and at times like that it rears its head and you feel that pain.”

Scott, not one to mince words, had no explanation and put the blame on himself.

"I'm going to get mad all over again. It's just bad,” Scott said. “I have no excuse. I'm not one for excuses. I don't know, just gotta be better. Easier said than done. We lost — doesn't mean s---. But yeah, not good."

The shame of it is, the Sixers aren’t in the game without Scott. The seven-year veteran, acquired from the Clippers along with Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic, showed on Saturday exactly why he was included in the deal.

On a night where Harris, Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick all struggled from the floor, Scott was scorching hot — especially in the second half. He hit all six of his threes — three in the third, three in the fourth — after halftime and went 6 of 9 behind the arc overall. He posted a season-high 22 points.

But that wasn’t all. You can tell Scott is starting to get more comfortable with his new team. Against the Warriors and the Thunder, Scott was improved defensively. It looks like he’s starting to understand the team’s defensive concepts better and meshing better with his new teammates.

He’s also shown his versatility, playing small-ball five off the bench with Joel Embiid out. It was a complete mismatch when he was asked to defend DeMarcus Cousins on the low block, but he did make Cousins pay on the other end for not coming to contest his shot quickly enough.

"I feel like my role doesn't change,” Scott said when asked of his adjustment with the Sixers. “More minutes, of course. Spacing the floor, just trying to be active on the other end. Not really much of a change, just more minutes. I like that."

There was also a moment late in the second quarter that was a prime example of the type of player Scott is. As Jordan Bell was driving to the lane for an uncontested shot, Scott committed a good, hard foul —  it didn’t look dirty and it wasn’t called a flagrant.

Bell took exception to it anyway. Scott is not the type to back down and went forehead to forehead with Bell as the two players jawed and received double technicals. A similar thing happened against Portland where Enes Kanter went after Ben Simmons. Instead, he caught the wrath of Scott.

As it gets later in the season and there’s more at stake, Scott is the kind of player you want on your team. Experienced, versatile, can make a three and tough. That’s basically how Brown describes his perfect player.

While Brown and Simmons focused on a lot of the positives postgame, Scott wasn’t having it.

"We fought back … Nah, I can't lie,” Scott said. “We just gotta be better with execution. It comes down to the end of the game on both ends. I feel s----y. It's good for coach to say that, but I don't feel like that. I can't lie."

Hating to lose is just another quality Scott brings to the table.

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Bad third quarter hurt Sixers more than late-game situations in loss to Warriors

Bad third quarter hurt Sixers more than late-game situations in loss to Warriors

Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler shot a combined 12 of 36. 

Ben Simmons turned the ball over nine times.

And, oh yeah, the Sixers were playing their fifth straight game without All-Star center Joel Embiid.

Still, they managed to give the defending champion Warriors all they could handle in a 120-117 loss at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night (see observations).

A lot of the focus postgame was with how the game ended. Mike Scott, who was very good Saturday overall, inexplicably committed a foul on Kevin Durant with 35 seconds left and the Sixers trailing by three.

After a Simmons basket and defensive stop, the Sixers still found themselves down three with 10.3 seconds left when Draymond Green fouled Simmons. Simmons made the first free throw but then missed the second free throw on purpose. Unfortunately, Simmons didn’t hit the rim and it was a violation.

Wasn’t it a little early for an intentional miss?

“When we don’t have timeouts and I’ve got to do something coming out, I’ll do it all day, every day,” Brett Brown said. “I don’t feel comfortable with Golden State and especially the fact that I don’t have any timeouts. I think it’s questionable for me if you do have timeouts. When you don’t, that’s what we’re doing.”

The Sixers had yet another chance to tie the game with 2.4 second left, trailing, 120-117. With no timeouts and inbounding from three-quarters court, it was going to be difficult for the Sixers to get a get a good look. Simmons inbounded the ball to Harris along the sideline. Harris was immediately mobbed by two Warriors and stepped out of bounds before getting a shot off.

While they had opportunities late to tie the game, that’s not where the game was lost.

The Sixers got off to a blazing start and built a 67-55 lead heading into halftime. At that point, Harris was 6 of 12 for 16 points and Simmons was 7 of 8 for 18 with four turnovers.

Then Golden State stormed back. The Warriors went on a 16-0 run that the Sixers just couldn’t stem. A 12-point halftime lead became a three-point deficit after three.

"That span right there was the change of the game, for the momentum shift,” Harris said. “They're one of the best teams in the league coming out after halftime. We were a little over-passive in the beginning of the third quarter, had a few turnovers. They're one of the best teams scoring off turnovers, and they scored 38 points in the third quarter alone. That run was big for them. 

“When we look back on this game, that third quarter really hurt us."

Harris went ice cold in the second half, going just 1 for 8 — the one was a three with 37.1 seconds left. Simmons’ turnover issues increased as he committed five more while he went just 3 of 7 after halftime.

You can break down all the late-game situations you want, but the Sixers were badly outplayed in a 38-point third quarter for the Warriors. Given the context of the situation — playing without your best player against the world champs — it’s far from the worst loss of the season for the Sixers.

“Everybody like lives and dies on every single play. It’s dramatic. And it can’t be for me,” Brown said. “There’s so much good that came out of this game and we've got Joel Embiid coming back … 

“So the mission is still the mission. We've got 19 games left and however many days. We take these situational type things and we get better at that. That’s where my head is at more than doing some other things. There’s many, many positives that can come out of tonight.”

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Warriors 120, Sixers 117: After hot start, lead disappears in 2nd half

Warriors 120, Sixers 117: After hot start, lead disappears in 2nd half

BOX SCORE 

After being beaten by the Sixers on Jan. 31 at Oracle Arena, you knew the Warriors would want revenge.

They got it Saturday night, beating the Sixers, 120-117, at Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers had a chance to tie it, down three with 2.4 seconds left, but a well-guarded Tobias Harris stepped out of bounds.

Kevin Durant (34 points), DeMarcus Cousins (25 points) and Stephen Curry (28 points) led the way for the Warriors, who were without Klay Thompson (right knee soreness).

The Sixers are now 3-2 since the All-Star break without Joel Embiid (left knee tendinitis). Embiid talked in depth before the game about his injury and said he plans to be back by next week (see story)

Here are observations from the loss: 

• Ben Simmons played perhaps the best game of his career when the Sixers beat the Warriors in January, posting 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals. 

His first-half performance Saturday was near that standard  — Simmons scored 18 points on 7 for 8 shooting, played excellent defense and pushed the pace well. 

In the second half, Simmons struggled. He shot just 3 for 7 after halftime, unable to jump-start the Sixers’ offense and coughing it up whenever he tried to create something special. He nearly had a quadruple-double of sorts, finishing with 25 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists and nine turnovers. 

• When the Sixers took a 71-57 lead early in the third quarter, the thought briefly crossed your mind that they might run away with a win. But the two-time defending champs don’t usually let that happen.

Golden State immediately went on a 16-0 run as the Sixers’ comfortable lead evaporated. The Sixers' inability to stem the run was disappointing, but it’s certainly not the first time the Warriors have stormed back into a game. 

• Harris needed 20 shots to get his 20 points and, like Simmons, wasn’t very effective in the second half, shooting 1 for 8. Harris has played nine games with the Sixers and only shot under 50 percent from the field twice — Saturday night and Feb. 12 vs. the Celtics. 

• If we’ve learned anything about Mike Scott (season-high 22 points) during his short time with the Sixers, it’s that he doesn’t mess around and he knocks down three-point shots. When Jordan Bell took exception to a foul by Scott late in the second quarter, Scott had no hesitation pressing his forehead against Bell’s and getting into a heated dialogue. Bell and Scott both received technical fouls. 

You might remember Scott also picked up a technical on Feb. 23 vs. Portland, sticking up for Simmons (see video).

Scott’s toughness isn’t manufactured or for the cameras. When he gets in an opponent’s face, he’s dead serious. 

His three three-pointers in the third quarter were big for the Sixers, helping to stem Golden State’s run. Scott nailed three long-range shots in the fourth as well. 

• Jonah Bolden, starting for the second straight night, got off to a tremendous start. He scored the Sixers’ first basket, driving by Cousins in the right corner, making one long, explosive dribble to the rim, and finishing with a reverse lay-up — plus a foul from Alfonzo McKinnie. 

About a minute later, he allowed Cousins to get deep post position on him, but then swatted away Cousins’ jump hook. 

Amir Johnson missed Saturday’s game with upper-back tightness, meaning the Sixers had to lean on Bolden more than usual. The rookie played 21 minutes, and he came back to earth a little after his opening surge. He appeared not to know the play call on one after-timeout set, and he got into foul trouble early in the third quarter. Bolden had 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting and three rebounds.

• Another rough shooting night (2 for 9) from JJ Redick hurt the Sixers. Redick entered Saturday’s game shooting 29.2 percent from the floor in his last six games. 

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